September 27, 2019 9:45 AM, EDT

Durable Goods Orders Edge Up 0.2% in August

shoppers look at washer-dryersShoppers check out washers and dryers at a Boston Home Depot. (Steven Senne/AP)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

WASHINGTON — Orders to U.S. factories for big-ticket manufactured goods showed a slight increase in August but a key sector that tracks business investment plans declined, likely reflecting fallout from President Donald Trump’s trade wars.

Orders for durable goods edged up 0.2% in August after a much bigger 2% gain in July, the Commerce Department reported Sept. 27. The volatile commercial aircraft sector dropped sharply.

Orders in a key category used as a proxy for business investment edged down 0.2%, the weakest showing since a 1.1% drop in April. This category has lagged for most of the year.

Analysts say businesses have pulled back on their investment plans because of concerns about what Trump’s trade war with China will do to the economy and demand in their own businesses.

While financial markets have been roiled this year over news that the trade fight was intensifying, those concerns have eased a bit of late as negotiators from both countries have resumed meeting with high-level talks scheduled for October.

Still, economists warn that if Trump goes ahead with a significantly expanded list of Chinese goods subject to tariffs, it could be enough to push the country into a recession next year.

The hope is that if both countries cannot reach a deal over U.S. demands for better protections for U.S. technology, the two nations will at least declare a cease-fire and stop tit-for-tat tariff escalations.

The Federal Reserve in July cut its benchmark interest rate for the first time in a decade and then followed up with another quarter-point reduction last week. Those moves were seen as providing protection for the U.S. economy from the fallout from the trade battle.

The durable goods report showed that demand for commercial aircraft dropped 17.1% after two months of large gains.

WANT MORE NEWS? Listen to today's Daily Briefing

Demand for machinery edged up 0.6% while orders for computers and related products rose a slight 0.1%.