Friday, June 24, 2011

Durable Goods Climb

The erratic data on the economy continues to match the erratic monetary policy run by Fed chairman Ben Bernanke.

New orders for durables increased 1.9 percent in May, after plunging 2.7 percent in April (though that decrease was revised up from a 3.6 percent decline). Over the past year, new orders are up 9.0 percent. Excluding transportation, durables orders more than reversed a 0.4 percent decline in April, rising 0.6 percent in May, and are now up 7.2 percent on a year-over-year basis. An important signal of future equipment and software investment—new orders of nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft—increased 1.6 percent in May, compared to a 0.8 percent decrease April. The series has increased in just two of the past five months, but is still up 10.5 percent over the past year. Shipments of durables, after 1.4 percent in April (its first decrease in five months), ticked up 0.3 percent in May. Durables inventories continued to swell, rising by 1.2 percent in May. Inventories are now up 13 percent over the past year (its highest growth rate since the early 1980s).

If you run a stop and go erratic monetary policy, you are going to get an erratic economy. The one certainty is higher prices at the consumer level.

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