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Thursday, April 2, 2015

February 2015 Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories, and New & Unfilled Orders

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the value of manufactured-goods shipments increased $3.6 billion or 0.7% to $481.3 billion in February. Shipments of durable goods decreased $0.5 billion or 0.2% to $244.0 billion, led by primary metals. Meanwhile, nondurable goods shipments increased $4.1 billion or 1.8% to $237.4 billion, led by petroleum and coal products. Wood shipments rose by 0.8% while Paper fell 0.6%. 
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Inventories increased $0.9 billion or 0.1% to $651.0 billion. The inventories-to-shipments ratio was 1.35, down from 1.36 in January.
Inventories of durable goods increased $1.2 billion or 0.3% to $413.0 billion (the highest level since the series was first published on a NAICS basis in 1992), led by transportation equipment. Nondurable goods inventories decreased $0.3 billion or 0.1% to $238.0 billion, led by chemical products. Inventories of Wood expanded by 0.8% while Paper contracted 0.2%. 
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New orders increased $0.8 billion or 0.2% to $468.3 billion (0.0% expected). Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.8%. Durable goods orders decreased $3.3 billion or 1.4% to $230.9 billion, led by transportation equipment. New orders for nondurable goods increased $4.1 billion or 1.8% to $237.4 billion.
Prior to July 2014, as can be seen in the graph above, real (inflation-adjusted) new orders had been essentially flat since early 2012, recouping roughly 75% of the losses incurred since the beginning of the Great Recession. With July’s transportation-led spike now in the rearview mirror, new orders have fallen back to around 57% of their December 2007 high. 
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Unfilled durable-goods orders decreased $5.9 billion or 0.5% to $1,156.3 billion, led by transportation equipment. The unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio was 6.71, unchanged from January. Real unfilled orders, which had been a good litmus test for sector growth, show a much different picture; in real terms, unfilled orders in June 2014 were back to just 79% of their December 2008 peak. Real unfilled orders jumped to 102% of the prior peak in July, thanks to the largest-ever batch of aircraft orders, hence, this metric is likely to remain elevated for several years.
The foregoing comments represent the general economic views and analysis of Delphi Advisors, and are provided solely for the purpose of information, instruction and discourse. They do not constitute a solicitation or recommendation regarding any investment.

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