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U.S. Industrial Production Drops 0.3% Amid Pullback In Utilities Output

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Reflecting a sharp pullback in utilities output, the Federal Reserve released a report on Wednesday showing a modest drop in U.S. industrial production in the month of January.

The Fed said industrial production dipped by 0.3 percent in January after climbing by a revised 0.6 percent in December.

Economists had expected production to come in unchanged compared to the 0.8 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

The drop in production came as utilities output plunged by 5.7 percent in January after surging up by 5.1 percent in December. The pullback came as unseasonably warm weather reduced the demand for heating.

On the other hand, the report said mining output jumped by 2.8 percent in January after slumping by 1.4 percent in December. Manufacturing output also rose by 0.2 percent for the second straight month.

The Fed also said capacity utilization edged down to 75.3 percent in January from a revised 75.6 percent in December.

Capacity utilization had been expected to come in unchanged compared to the 75.5 percent originally reported for the previous month.

The report said capacity utilization in the utilities sector plunged to 75.1 percent in January after soaring to 79.7 percent in December.

Meanwhile, capacity utilization in the mining sector rose to 79.1 in January from 77.1 percent in December, while capacity utilization in the manufacturing sector inched up to 75.1 percent from 75.0 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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