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US manufacturing rises, but auto production declines

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US manufacturing output rose in October, but a third straight month of declines in motor vehicle production suggested some slowdown in the pace of factory activity.

[WASHINGTON] US manufacturing output rose in October, but a third straight month of declines in motor vehicle production suggested some slowdown in the pace of factory activity.

Factory production increased 0.2 per cent last month after a downwardly revised 0.2 per cent rise in September, the Federal Reserve said on Monday.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast manufacturing output rising 0.3 per cent in October after a previously reported 0.5 per cent gain in September.

Motor vehicle output fell 1.2 per cent in October. That followed September's 1.9 per cent drop and was the third consecutive month of declines.

Mining output dropped 0.9 per cent last month, while utilities production fell 0.7 per cent.

Those declines eclipsed the gains in manufacturing, leaving overall industrial production slipping 0.1 per cent in October. September's increase in industrial output was revised down to 0.8 per cent from 1.0 per cent.

The amount of manufacturing capacity in use slipped to 77.2 per cent last month from 77.3 per cent in September.

Overall industrial capacity use fell to 78.9 per cent from 79.2 per cent in September. It was 1.2 percentage points below its long-run average.

Officials at the Fed tend to look at capacity use as a signal of how much "slack" remains in the economy and how much room there is for growth to run before it becomes inflationary.

REUTERS