Afternoon Coffee: US Durable Goods Orders Decline, Chinese Manufacturing Costs Fall

The number of orders for US durable goods fell 2% in August compared to July, the Commerce Department reported today. Declines in oil prices, Chinese economic activity and a low demand for US exports contributed to the fall.

Chinese manufacturing costs are dropping as the value of the yuan declines, and more manufacturers are turning to the country to produce goods, sources say. The use of robots in China is also lowering manufacturing costs.

Natural gas inventories rose more than expected recently, the US Energy Information Administration reported today, which pushed natural gas prices down. Supplies increased 106 billion cubic feet for the week ending Sept. 18. Analysts had expected a rise of no more than 98 bcf of natural gas.

Platinum prices dropped close to a 7-year low yesterday following the news earlier this week that Volkswagen had been using software in its cars to cheat on US emissions tests. The emissions control technology called auto catalysts uses platinum.


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