• US manufacturing shows strength

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    WASHINGTON: US manufacturers showed firm signs of life in October after a mid-year slowdown, but overall industrial output was lower due to the energy sector slump, Federal Reserve data showed Tuesday.

    The Fed’s industrial production index lost 0.2 points to 107.2, and showed a bare 0.3 percent gain from a year ago.

    That was mainly due to the sharp contraction in the oil and coal mining sectors due to the plunge in fuel prices.

    Utility sector output was also lower, in part because of a very mild autumn in much of the United States, slowing demand.

    But the manufacturing sector, which had been suffering in part from the slowdown in the global economy and the impact on exports from the strong dollar, showed unexpected strength, jumping 0.4 points in the month. That turned into a 1.9 percent gain over the past 12 months.

    There was strength last month in automobile output, business supplies and construction materials, all important to stronger overall growth in the US economy.

    But another key category, consumer goods, was down slightly in the month, though 3.5 percent higher for the year.

    AFP

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