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US industrial output jumps as auto production surges

[WASHINGTON] US industrial output advanced at its strongest pace in eight months in July as auto production surged in a bullish signal for third-quarter economic growth.

Industrial production shot up 0.6 per cent last month after a downwardly revised increase of 0.1 per cent in June, the Federal Reserve said on Friday. Economists polled by Reuters had looked for a gain of just 0.3 per cent last month.

The gain in output reflected a 0.8 per cent increase in factory production that was spurred by 10.6 per cent surge in motor vehicle output that more than offset a June decline.

Mining production edged up 0.2 per cent, while utilities production fell 1.0 per cent.

The step up in overall production pushed the percentage of industrial capacity in use up to 78.0 per cent in July, in line with forecasts, from a downwardly revised 77.7 per cent in June.

Capacity utilization in the factory sector rose to 76.2 per cent last month, its highest level since December, from a revised 75.7 per cent in June.

REUTERS