US factory orders go up

Washington, Feb 5 (IANS) New orders for US manufactured goods rose 1.8 percent in December, following a modest gain in November, the US Department of Commerce reported Monday.

US factory orders increased by $8.6 billion to a seasonally-adjusted $484.8 billion, going up for three of the last four months, reported Xinhua.

New orders for durable goods, or big-ticket items expected to last at least three years such as computers, cars and machinery, rose by $9.4 billion or 4.3 percent to $230 billion in December. This followed a 0.6-percent November increase.

New orders for non-durable goods, including food, paper products, petroleum and coal products, decreased by $0.8 billion or 0.3 percent to $254.8 billion in December.

The manufacturing sector, a bright spot in the US economic recovery, showed signs of fluctuation in the second half of 2012 as worries grew over the "fiscal cliff", which many economists warned could rekindle a recession.

The US Congress struck a deal in January, blocking most of the tax hikes and postponing the automatic spending cuts.

A separate report released on Friday by the U.S. Institute of Supply Management showed that the manufacturing sector expanded in January for the second consecutive month.