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U.S. industrial production edges higher in July

Staff Writer |
U.S. industrial production edged only a tad higher last month, although output of business equipment remained strong as mining activity cooled a tad.

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Total production increased by 0.1% month-on-month, according to the Federal Reserve and was up by 4.2% in comparison to a year ago.

That was less than the 0.4% rise for July which economists had been expecting.

Production in most market group categories was little changed, although that of business equipment jumped by 0.8% on the month, led by increased output of transit and information processing equipment, even after a sharp 2.2% jump in June.

By industry groups, manufacturing output continued to push higher, amid upwards revisions to figures for several of the previous months, rising by 0.3% month-on-month in July (consensus: 0.3%).

According to the Fed, the biggest gains in factory output were seen in that of automobiles and parts and computer and electronics products.

Output in Mining on the other hand shrank by 0.3% - despite a further increase in oil and gas extraction - while that of Utilities fell by 0.5%.

To take note of, mining output remained nearly 13% above its year-ago level and capacity-in-use within the sector, at 92.0%, was five percentage points above its long-run average.

The degree of total industrial capacity in use, a key gauge of slack in the economy, printed at 78.1%, which was unchanged from June.