Machine Ktool Orders Down for November

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) _ Orders for American-made machine tools slumped in November as customers canceled an unusually big number of orders while others delayed purchases in hopes of future tax breaks, an industry report said.

Orders for machine tool exports also dropped sharply due to weakness in economies overseas, the Association for Manufacturing Technology said.

"The decline in November was the result of unusually large cancellations and customer uncertainty over possible investment incentives in 1993," said Albert W. Moore, president of the association.

The association's monthly report covers two categories of tools, for metal cutting and metal forming. Taken together, they represent a relatively small industry and the monthly figures on orders can fluctuate widely.

Despite the monthly swings, orders for machine tools are considered an important gauge of industrial health because they play a key role in the output of a broad range of goods.

The report followed signs released last week that the economy finally is turning around after a prolonged period of stagnation.

A survey of businesses in October and November showed they collectively planned a 5.3 percent increase in 1993 investment spending after a 3.6 percent rise this year. It would be the best gain in investment spending in four years.

The Commerce Department said the gross domestic product grew at a seasonally and inflation-adjusted 3.4 percent annual rate in the third quarter, not quite so strong as an earlier estimate but still the best of George Bush's presidency. …