US factory orders fall again in January: Official data

WASHINGTON (AFP) - New orders for US manufactured goods fell for the second month in a row in January as civilian aircraft and computer orders slid, official data released Thursday showed.

New factory orders fell 0.7 per cent in January after a revised 2.0 per cent drop in December, the Commerce Department said.

Analysts had projected a smaller 0.5 per cent decline in orders. The December number was worse than the previous estimate of a 1.5 per cent drop.

New orders have fallen in three of the last four months.

Excluding transportation equipment orders, which can be volatile month-over-month, factory orders edged up 0.2 per cent in January following a slight decline the prior month.

Orders for civilian aircraft and parts dropped 20.2 per cent and those for ships and boats fell 26.4 percent.

Computer orders posted the steepest decline, plunging 46.0 per cent.

Orders for durable goods - items aimed at a useful life of several years which make up about half of all factory orders - fell 1.0. per cent after a plunge of 5.3 per cent in December.