Rise in US Industrial Products Dwarfs Expectations

Manufacturing Production Rose for the Fourth Straight Month in December, up 2.4% Year-over-Year

Manufacturing Production Rose for the Fourth Straight Month in December, up 2.4% Year-over-Year

United States industry surged back to life in 2017, posting the biggest increase in output in seven years, with the largest gain in the mining sector, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday (Jan 17).

But the December increase came after the November result was revised to show a slight decline instead of a slight increase, according to the Fed data.

For the final month of the year, total output rebounded 0.9 per cent compared to November, on a large jump in utilities, far stronger than even the most optimistic analysts were expecting.

US industrial production rose sharply in December, boosted by gains in utilities output as cold weather swept across the nation and increased demand for heating. Industrial production rose at an annual rate of 8.2% in the fourth quarter, the biggest gain since the second quarter of 2010. In addition to manufacturing, both mining and utilities production were higher, up 1.6 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively.

"That cold streak continued into the first week of January too, so utilities output will remain elevated at the beginning of 2018 too", Mr. Pearce said. Economists had expected capacity utilization of 77.3% in December. Durable goods production was up by 0.3 percent for the month, rising for the fifth consecutive month; whereas, output among nondurable goods businesses was off by 0.1 percent in December, pulling back slightly after two months of gains.

Wednesday's reading on industrial production lifted Barclays's tracking estimate for the rate of growth in fourth quarter gross domestic product by one tenth of a percentage point to 3.1%.

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