2018 Economic Calendar
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Factory Orders  
Released On 5/3/2018 10:00:00 AM For Mar, 2018
PriorPrior RevisedConsensusConsensus RangeActual
Factory Orders - M/M change1.2 %1.6 %1.3 %0.5 % to 1.8 %1.6 %

Highlights
February and March were good for the nation's factory sector with new orders up 1.6 percent in both months. Aircraft orders were very strong in both months excluding which, along with other transportation equipment, orders were much more subdued, at gains of only 0.2 percent in February and 0.3 percent in March.

Orders for metals, including both steel and aluminum, did rise in sharply in March, a month when import duties were imposed, but sizable monthly gains (as well as losses) are routine for these readings where volumes, compared to the whole, are small. Inventories for steel and aluminum also rose sharply in March, but again not out of the ordinary.

Orders for capital goods (nondefense ex-aircraft) fell 0.4 percent but follow March's strong 1.0 percent gain. Business investment has been very strong (as highlighted in yesterday's FOMC statement) but a second month of decline in April for capital goods would definitely raise questions. Construction materials, an area to watch for tariff effects, also slipped 0.4 percent and follow a 0.3 percent gain in February.

The split between order gains for durable and nondurable goods is 2.6 percent for the former, again reflecting aircraft, and 0.5 percent for the latter reflecting gains for coal and petroleum.

An important positive in today's report is an outsized 0.8 percent rise in total backlogs where builds until now have been mostly modest. Inventories rose a steady 0.3 percent in a March report which, in sum, points to an aircraft-led factory sector that looks to contribute significantly to the 2018 economy.

Consensus Outlook
The durable goods report for March showed headline strength which will give a boost to March factory orders where the consensus is calling for a 1.3 percent gain. But some details of the durables report were soft, especially capital goods orders which are pointing to slowing in business investment.

Definition
Factory orders represent the dollar level of new orders for both durable and nondurable goods. This report gives more complete information than the advance durable goods report which is released one or two weeks earlier in the month.  Why Investors Care
 
[Chart]
Even though monthly shipment data fluctuate less than new orders, both series show underlying trends more clearly by looking at year-over-year changes. In 2005 for example,new orders rose more rapidly than shipments due to large gains in aircraft orders. Aircraft orders have a long lead to shipment.
Data Source: Haver Analytics
 
 

2018 Release Schedule
Released On: 1/52/23/64/45/36/47/38/29/610/411/212/6
Release For: NovDecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOct
 


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