US Industrial Output Up Modestly in July

Mining output rose 0.5 percent, slowing significantly from the increases in the prior two months, but it has been up for five straight months on continued gains in oil and gas extraction. Economists had expected a 0.3% increase.

Overall industrial production - which adds output by mines and utilities - rose 0.2 per cent, the Fed said.

Manufacturing output fell 0.1%.

Capacity use, a measure of slack across industries, was flat at 76.7%.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast industrial production increasing 0.3 per cent in July. A Fed spokesman said the central bank inadvertently published the data on its website before its scheduled release.

Although manufacturing output, which represents more than 70 percent of the Industrial Production index, fell 0.1 percent compared to June, if motor vehicles and parts are excluded from the calculation, the sector was up 0.2 percent, the report said.

As auto sales have slowed sharply from the record pace in 2016, production of motor vehicles and parts has fallen in five months this year, and have dropped five percent in the latest 12 months. Output of business equipment and construction materials dropped for the second time in three months.

Mining, meanwhile, has picked up as the energy sector slowly rebounds after a downturn.

Utility output rose 1.6% last month but is still down 0.6% over the past year.

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