US industrial output rises for 2nd consecutive month in December

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US industrial production rose for the second consecutive month in December, continuing the recovery from Hurricane Sandy's devastation, central bank data released today showed.

Industrial output rose 0.3 per cent in December following a revised 1.0 per cent increase in November as industries affected by the power storm that struck the North-east in October rebounded. The December increase was slightly above the 0.2 per cent consensus estimate of analysts.

On a 12-month basis, the Federal Reserve said industrial production rose 2.2 per cent in December. That was still a sharp 1.9 points below its level in December 2007, when the economy entered a deep recession that only ended in June 2009.

For the fourth quarter, total output rose at an annual rate of 1.0 per cent, including a significant upward revision to the October reading, to minus 0.3 per cent from 0.7 per cent.

Manufacturing output rose 0.8 per cent in December, lifted by motor vehicles production. Mining output was up 0.6 per cent; utilities output dived 4.8 per cent amid unseasonably warm weather.

"The details were much stronger than the utilities-depressed headline data, and revisions added to the stronger tone," Mr Jim O'Sullivan, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics, said.

"The rebound in manufacturing in the last two months has gone behind a reversal of hurricane-related weakness in October."

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