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Manufacturing leads US industrial output higher

Manufacturing pushed US industrial production higher in July in the sixth straight months of gains, the Federal Reserve said on Friday (Aug 15). The 0.4 per cent rise in output was slightly stronger than expected. 

WASHINGTON: Manufacturing pushed US industrial production higher in July in the sixth straight months of gains, the Federal Reserve said on Friday (Aug 15). Total output of the nation's manufacturing, mining and utilities rose 0.4 per cent in July, after an upwardly revised 0.4 per cent gain in June. The July output increase was slightly stronger than analysts had expected.

Manufacturing output surged 1.0 per cent, its largest gain since February, and up from a 0.3 per cent rise in each of the prior three months. Leading the increase was production of motor vehicles and parts, revving up 10.1 per cent, while other production rose 0.4 per cent.

Mining output gains slowed sharply to 0.3 per cent from 1.3 per cent in June. Utilities output fell for the second month in a row, by 3.4 per cent, as weather that was unusually mild for July reduced demand for air conditioning, the central bank said.

Year-on-year industrial output in July was up 5.0 per cent. "So far, with the exception of consumer spending ... it looks like Q3 is getting off to a good start," said Jennifer Lee of BMO Capital Markets.

Capacity utilisation crept higher by a tenth point for the second straight month, reaching 79.2 per cent in July, the highest since June 2008. Lee said capacity utilisation was "still below inflation-threatening" levels of more than 82 per cent.

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