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Economy in Brief

Industrial Production Fell
by Tom Moeller May 17, 2005

Industrial production fell 0.2% in April following a downwardly revised 0.1% increase in March. Consensus expectations had been for a 0.2% gain. Lower utility output accounted for all of the decline as it fell 2.3% (0.7% y/y) for the third decline this year.

Factory sector output recovered 0.1% (3.5% y/y) of a downwardly revised 0.3% decline in March. Excluding the high tech sector where output rose 1.8% (20.3% y/y) factory output fell for the second month, down 0.1% (+2.5% y/y). During 2004 factory output less high tech rose 3.9%.

Production of electrical equipment, appliances & components rose 0.2% after a downwardly revised 1.0% March increase, but the y/y gain of 2.0% was well off the 6.2% pace of 2004. Machinery output also rose a firm 1.3% but here as well the y/y growth of 6.3% is about last year's increase.

Total capacity utilization slipped to 79.2% and capacity grew 1.2% y/y. Factory sector utilization also slipped to 77.9% and capacity rose 1.3% y/y.

Production & Capacity April March Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
Industrial Production -0.2% 0.1% 3.1% 4.1% -0.0% -0.3%
  Consumer Goods -0.9% -0.2% 1.4% 2.7% 0.3% 1.4%
  Business Equipment 0.8% -0.1% 8.4% 9.5% 1.2% -7.9%
Capacity Utilization 79.2% 79.4% 77.7% (04/04) 78.1% 75.5% 75.3%
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