Biggest jump in US spending plans revealed

Ben Southwood
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ONE INDICATOR of future US business spend jumped at its fastest rate in 13 months during January, giving support to hopes the US has pulled out of its recent weak period.

Non-defence capital goods orders excluding aircraft soared 6.3 per cent in the first month of 2013, the US Commerce Department said yesterday, jumping back after a 0.3 per cent dip in December, and quashing economist expectations the gauge would gain only 0.2 per cent.

This came as part of a highly mixed set of data, in which overall new orders for durable manufacturers slid some $11.8bn (£7.8bn), or 5.2 per cent, a correction after four months of increases. But this came entirely from plunging transportation equipment sales, which were down $14.7bn – a collapse of 19.8 per cent. Without their impact, sales were up 1.9 per cent.

Separate data from the housing sector, also released yesterday, gave a positive sheen to the numbers. Agreed sales of previously-owned houses were up 4.5 per cent last month, the National Association of Realtors said.