Orders for US durable goods rise 42 per cent in June lifted

Orders for US durable goods rise 4.2 per cent in June, lifted by aircraft and business spending by Christopher S. Rugaber, The Associated Press Posted Jul 25, 2013 8:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – Orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods rose in June, bolstered by a surge in aircraft demand and more business spending. The increase suggests companies are more confident in the economy and could boost economic growth in the second half of the year.The Commerce Department said Thursday that orders for durable goods increased 4.2 per cent last month. That followed a 5.2 per cent gain in May, which was revised higher.Most of the gain occurred because aircraft orders, which are volatile month to month, jumped 31.4 per cent. Boeing said it received orders for 287 planes in June, up from 232 in May. Excluding autos and airplanes, orders were unchanged.Orders that signal planned business investment, which exclude volatile transportation and defence orders, increased in June for the fourth straight month. The 0.7 per cent gain last month was buoyed by more machinery demand. And orders in May were much stronger than previously reported.Even with the gain, business investment is not likely to help economic growth in the April-June quarter, economists said. That’s because the government measures shipments, rather than orders, when calculating business investments’ contribution to growth. Shipments fell in June. But the increase in orders this spring suggests shipments will rise in the July-September quarter and add to growth.Jonathan Basile, an economist at Credit Suisse, said rising orders are a “recipe for a speed up in manufacturing and business investment” in the third quarter.Durable goods are items meant to last at least three years. They include everything from computers to industrial machinery to refrigerators.U.S. manufacturing has struggled this year, in part because a weaker global economy has slowed demand for American exports. And businesses reduced their spending on machinery and equipment in the first quarter, holding back economic growth.The economy grew at a tepid 1.8 per cent annual rate in the January-March quarter and most economists expect growth slowed to a rate of 1 per cent or less in the April-June period. Figures for the second quarter will be released next week.Many economists are hopeful that growth is starting to pick up. Some predict growth at a 2.5 per cent annual rate in the second half of the year, aided by steady hiring and more consumer spendingThere are also signs that overseas demand is recovering. A survey of purchasing managers in the 17 countries that use the euro currency found that business activity expanded in July for the first time in 18 months. That adds to other evidence that the eurozone may be climbing out of recession.U.S. manufacturing output rose in June for the second straight month as factories cranked out more business equipment, autos and electronics, the Federal Reserve said last week.And a survey by the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group, found that factory activity expanded in June after shrinking the previous month. New orders and export orders rose, a positive sign for future growth. read more

Burundi UN rights office warns about consequences of countrys extremely tense situation

Indeed, more than 145,000 people have already fled to neighboring countries less than a week before the presidential election, set for July 15, and ten days after parliamentary and local elections, which took place in an atmosphere far from conducive to a free, fair and inclusive vote, explained the Spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Rupert Colville, during a press conference in Geneva. “Polls were boycotted by opposition parties, with outbreaks of violence, including small-arms and grenade attacks,” he stressed. Over the past two months, UNHCR office in Burundi has documented over 300 cases of arbitrary arrest and detention of demonstrators, human rights defenders, political opponents and journalists. Numerous cases of torture and other forms of ill-treatment in detention were also reported. “A severe crackdown on independent media has led to the closure of most private media and radio stations. Large numbers of journalists and human rights defenders have fled Burundi for fear of reprisals. Peaceful protests have been met with unwarranted use of force, including lethal force, in violation of Burundi’s obligation under national and international law to guarantee the right to freedom of assembly,” Mr. Colville continued. Recently, key members of the Pierre Nkurunziza’s own political party and government have fled the country, the Spokesperson added. “Our field office has also documented dozens of killings, most of them shootings of demonstrators and human rights defenders by members of the Imbonerakure militia and security forces,” he said, urging the authorities to disarm this militia without delay. Refugees interviewed by our staff in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Tanzania continue to refer to the Imbonerakure as the main threat, but some have also stated that militants from other groups are also employing violence – a new and disturbing development. “Media interviews carried out in the past couple of days, with leaders of the attempted coup in May, who talk openly of organizing military units and of resorting to the use of force, are alarming. We call on all sides to make serious and urgent efforts to find a peaceful solution to this crisis before it leads to uncontrollable violence,” concluded Mr. Colville. read more