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Economy in Brief

Warm Weather Left Industrial Production Unchanged
by Tom Moeller February 16, 2005

Industrial production was unchanged last month versus Consensus expectations for a 0.3% increase. The shortfall was entirely due to a 3.1% decline in utility output as well as a 0.3% drop in mining output.

The factory sector again performed well and output rose 0.5% (5.3% y/y) following a downwardly revised 0.4% gain in December.

High tech sector output increased 1.5% (18.1% y/y) as output of communications equipment rose 3.0% (13.8% y/y). Semiconductor & related equipment output rose 0.9% (26.5% y/y) and computer & peripheral output also gained 0.9% (6.0% y/y).

Factory output excluding high tech rose 0.4% in December (4.4% y/y). A 1.2% decline in clothing output (-5.0% y/y) was offset by a 1.6% rise (9.5% y/y) in machinery output. Nondurables output also rose as did output of metals. Production of appliances, furniture & carpeting fell 1.1% (-0.4% y/y) as furniture output fell 0.5% (+1.3% y/y).

Motor vehicle output fell 2.0% (+0.2% y/y) in January. Excluding motor vehicles, factory output rose 0.7% (5.7% y/y). Excluding both high tech and motor vehicles factory output rose 0.6% (4.8% y/y).

Total capacity utilization fell slightly to 79.0%. Capacity grew 1.2% y/y.

Production & Capacity Jan Dec Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Industrial Production 0.0% 0.7% 4.0% 4.1% -0.0% -0.3%
Capacity Utilization 79.0% 79.1% 76.9% (01/04) 78.0% 75.5% 75.3%
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