February 14, 2020 / 2:40 PM / 5 days ago

U.S. January industrial output falls on weather, Boeing drop

FILE PHOTO: An assembly line worker works on the production line at Renegade RV manufacturing plant in Bristol, Indiana, U.S., April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Tim Aeppel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. industrial production fell 0.3% in January as unseasonably warm weather held down the output of utilities and Boeing Co (BA.N) cut production of civilian aircraft, the Federal Reserve said on Friday.

The Fed said manufacturing production fell 0.1% in January, matching forecasts, but December’s manufacturing output was revised lower to a 0.1% gain from a previously reported 0.2% gain.

Overall industrial output for December was revised downward to a 0.4% reduction from a previously reported 0.3% drop.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast industrial output would fall 0.2% in January, with manufacturing output forecast to be down 0.1%. On an annualized basis, production at factories fell 0.8% in January, mirroring the annualized drop in overall industrial production.

Production of aerospace and miscellaneous transportation equipment fell 7.4% in January after a 0.5% increase in December, the Fed said. The drop reflects Boeing’s January halt in production of its grounded 737 MAX aircraft.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that the Boeing 737 halt could cut U.S. gross domestic product growth by as much as a half percentage point this year.

The was somewhat offset by a rise in vehicle assemblies to 11.29 million units on an annualized basis. Manufacturing output excluding motor vehicles and parts fell 0.3% in January.

Capacity usage at factories, mines and utilities fell to 76.8%, the lowest since September 2017, from 77.1% in December.

U.S. utility production fell 4.0% in January after a 6.2% drop in December, while output at mines rose 1.2% in January after a 1.5% increase in December.

Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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