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US factory output flat in June

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US factory production failed to advance for a second straight month in June, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday in a report that could bolster concerns the economy lost a bit of steam toward the end of the second quarter.

[WASHINGTON] US factory production failed to advance for a second straight month in June, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday in a report that could bolster concerns the economy lost a bit of steam toward the end of the second quarter.

The Fed said manufacturing output was unchanged both last month and in May. A month ago it had said factory production dipped 0.2 per cent in May.

The weakness last month was concentrated in the auto sector, where output fell 3.7 per cent. Excluding that decline, factory production would have increased 0.3 per cent.

Despite the soft manufacturing reading, overall industrial output climbed 0.3 per cent after a 0.2 per cent decline in May. Mining output jumped 1.0 per cent and utilities production gained 1.5 per cent.

It was the biggest increase in industrial production since November, and it pushed up the per centage of industrial capacity in use to 78.4 per cent from 78.2 per cent in May.

Economists had expected industrial production to increase 0.2 per cent, with capacity utilization holding at the previously reported May level of 78.1 per cent. They had expected factory output to rise 0.1 per cent.

REUTERS