US January industrial output falls on weather, Boeing drop

US aircraft manufacturer Boeing. — AFP pic
US aircraft manufacturer Boeing. — AFP pic

WASHINGTON, Feb 14 — US industrial production fell 0.3 per cent in January as unseasonably warm weather held down the output of utilities and Boeing Co slowed production of civilian aircraft, the Federal Reserve said today.

The Fed said manufacturing production fell 0.1 per cent in January, matching forecasts, but December’s manufacturing output was revised lower to a 0.1 per cent gain from a previously reported 0.2 per cent gain.

Overall industrial output for December was revised downward to a 0.4 per cent reduction from a previously reported 0.3 per cent drop.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast industrial output would fall 0.2 per cent in January, with manufacturing output forecast to be down 0.1 per cent. On an annualized basis, production at factories fell 0.8 per cent in January, mirroring the annualized drop in overall industrial production.

Production of aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment fell 7.4 per cent in January after a 0.5 per cent increase in December, the Fed said. The drop reflects Boeing’s halt this year of its grounded 737 MAX aircraft.

This was somewhat offset by a rise in vehicle assemblies to 11.29 million units on an annualized basis. Manufacturing output excluding motor vehicles and parts fell 0.3 per cent in January.

Capacity usage at factories, mines and utilities fell to 76.8 per cent, the lowest since September 2017, from 77.1 per cent in December.

US utility production fell 4.0 per cent in January after a 6.2 per cent drop in December, while output at mines rose 1.2 per cent in January after a 1.5 per cent increase in December. — Reuters

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