US factories boost output again...

New orders and shipments in the US manufacturing industry continued their upward trend in December, according to official numbers out yesterday. New orders grew $8.6bn (£5.5bn) – 1.8 per cent – to reach $484.8bn during the month, the Census Bureau said, while firms added 0.4 per cent to their shipments. Firms were getting more active, and finding it harder to meet demand, the data suggested, with unfilled orders up 0.8 per cent.