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US industrial output and capacity use beat forecasts in January

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Wednesday 17 Feb 2021

LONDON (ShareCast) - (Sharecast News) - Industrial production in the US grew slightly more quickly than anticipated in January, helped by the ongoing rebound in the oil patch, although the output of many goods including energy, remained below their year-earlier levels still.
According to the Department of Commerce, total output grew at a month-on-month pace of 0.9%.

That was much better than the 0.4% increase that economists had penciled-in.

Although the prior month's print was revised down by three tenths of a percentage point to 1.3%, readings for August, October and November were all marked up substantially.

Hence, the degree of capacity utilisation in US industry hit 75.6% in January (consensus: 74.8%).

Total industrial output was still running 1.8% beneath its year earlier level at the start of 2021, but capacity use had dipped was down by just 0.1%.

By industry groups, manufacturing production was ahead by 1.0% (consensus: 0.7%), alongside gains of 2.3% in Mining and a 1.2% drop in Utilities' output.

Looking at the various so-called market groups, output of all Materials combined up by 1.3% on the month, alongside increases of 0.7% in the production of consumer goods and construction.

Production of business equipment was 0.4% higher.

According to Commerce, and also in month-on-month terms, the only noteworthy declines in output by market groups were seen in consumer paper products, paper materials, transit equipment, information processing equipment, and consumer energy products.

Against January 2020, output from about half the market groups remained lower, with that of energy materials still down by 6.2% from a year ago.

All the major categories of consumer goods and for defense and space equipment on the other hand were above their year-earlier levels.