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US industrial output boosted in October by hurricane-related rebound

[WASHINGTON] US industrial output rose more than expected in October as industries affected by a string of recent hurricanes resumed normal operations, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday.

Overall industrial production increased 0.9 per cent following a slightly upwardly revised 0.4 per cent rise in September.

Industrial output data for the third quarter were also revised higher, with production declining at a 0.3 per cent annual rate. That compared to the previous estimate of a 1.5 per cent drop.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast industrial output rising 0.5 per cent in October. The central bank's measure of the industrial sector is comprised of manufacturing, mining, and electric and gas utilities.

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The effects of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Nate, which battered the oil and gas industries along the US Gulf Coast, had previously held back industrial output.

In October, as industries came back online, the effects of the hurricanes contributed 0.60 percentage point to the overall change in industrial production.

The manufacturing sector, which makes up about 12 per cent of the nation's economy, rose 1.3 per cent last month after an upwardly revised 0.4 per cent increase in September.

With overall output rising, the percentage of industrial capacity in use increased 0.6 percentage point to 77.0 per cent in October from an upwardly revised 76.4 per cent in September.