US durable goods orders slip back on weak car demand

Production at a General Motors plant in Michigan
Image caption New orders for US cars and car parts fell sharply in August

Orders for big manufactured goods in the US fell slightly in August after a sharp jump in the previous month, due in part to a fall in demand for cars.

Durable goods orders fell by 0.1% to $201.8bn, roughly in line with expectations, after a 4.1% rise in July, the Commerce Department said.

However, plane orders grew strongly for the second month in a row.

The figures come a day after weak housing and consumer confidence data reinforced concerns for the US economy.

On Tuesday, the closely-watched S&P Case Shiller index showed stagnant house prices in July, while the Conference Board's consumer confidence index for September showed no recovery from August's weak level.

'Positive signals'

The durable goods figures from the Commerce Department said new orders for motor vehicles and parts fell by 8.5% between July and August.

This was partially offset by a jump of 23% in aircraft orders.

Analysts said the figures were reassuring, given the large jump in total orders in the previous month.

"The marginal slippage in August after a positive July is not enough to suggest trend has turned negative," said David Sloan at IFR Economics.

"In fact the August breakdown contains some positive signals for business investment."

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