It was a case of good news, bad news for the manufacturing sector last month.
Output fell from July last year - the third straight month of decline - but by just 0.4 per cent, far better than expected by analysts.
It was also a stellar improvement from the 8.1 per cent plunge in June - the sector's worst showing in 3½ years.
The data has split analysts, with some tipping a technical recession while others are more optimistic.
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