NEW YORK, JUNE 18 -- Pressure from foreign competitors is continuing to force the nation's 1,000 largest manufacturers to raise their capital spending in order to increase productivity, a survey by the Conference Board said today.
The business research group's survey found that new appropriations by the companies advanced 3.9 percent in the first quarter of 1987 from the fourth quarter of 1986, marking the third consecutive quarterly advance.
Eleven of the nation's 17 major industry groups told the New York-based board that they are projecting spending increases this year.
The biggest spending gains are expected in textiles, food and beverages and other nondurable goods. Major declines are expected by the motor vehicle, rubber, instruments and photo equipment industries, the survey said.
While the manufacturers said they are projecting an 11 percent gain in their capital spending this year, the board said that actual spending is likely to increase by a more moderate 4 percent to 5 percent.
"The economy should see a gradual increase in capital spending during each quarter of this year with a possible spurt in the final quarter of 1987," said Walter Arvin, an economist at the board.
"Spending increases are being heavily driven by foreign competitors that are keeping the pressure on U.S. firms to make their facilities more productive. Spending will also be aided when corporate tax rates fall on July 1, which will increase after-tax profits," Arvin added.
The survey said that rising prices for petroleum and other energy will increase capital spending by the large but troubled oil-producing industry, where outlays sagged 35 percent last year.