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US industrial output falls as utilities, manufacturing weaken
[WASHINGTON] US industrial production fell 0.4 per cent in November, a bigger drop than anticipated, due to a steep decline in utility output and a dip in manufacturing, data from the Federal Reserve showed on Wednesday.
The drop was the largest decline in industrial production since March, when the index fell 0.9 per cent.
Output for October was revised to show a 0.1 per cent increase rather than the unchanged level initially reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast industrial production falling 0.2 per cent in November.
Manufacturing output fell 0.1 per cent in November, less than the 0.2 per cent decline anticipated by economists. It rose by an upwardly revised 0.3 per cent in October.
Utilities production dropped 4.4 per cent in November as warmer-than-normal temperatures reduced demand for heating. Utilities output fell by a downwardly revised 2.8 per cent in October.
Mining production, which has been hurt by low oil prices, was up 1.1 per cent after a downwardly revised 1.9 per cent gain in October.
Industrial capacity utilisation declined to 75 per cent from 75.4 per cent in October. Economists had forecast this metric at 75.1 per cent.
Officials at the Fed tend to look at capacity use as a signal of how much "slack" there is in the economy and how much room there is for growth to accelerate before it becomes inflationary.