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US industrial output rises in June on jump in drilling

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Washington (AFP)

US industrial output rose for the fifth straight month in June on the continued rise in oil and gas drilling and coal mining and a slight rebound in manufacturing, the Federal Reserve reported Friday.

Overall industrial production rose 0.4 percent last month, and output for May posted a 0.1 percent increase, better than initially reported, as manufacturing retraced half of the 0.4 percent drop in May, according to the data.

The key manufacturing sector, which represents more than 70 percent of the Industrial Production index, is up 1.2 percent compared to June 2016, although it slowed in the second quarter, the report said.

But the mining sector showed the biggest change, jumping 1.6 percent last month compared to May, when it increased 1.9 percent. The sector has risen 9.9 percent from the same period of last year. However, it remains nine percent below the December 2014 peak, the Fed said.

Oil and gas well drilling jumped 6.8 percent in the month, and is up 108.2 percent compared to June 2016 even after a slight slowdown in the rate of increase in May.

Output for utilities remained was flat in June compared to the prior month as a decrease for gas utilities was only slightly offset by an increase for electric utilities. The sector has seen production decline 2.2 percent year-over-year.

In the manufacturing sector, big-ticket items like cars and appliances, known as durable goods, increased 0.4 percent. The Fed said "nearly all major industry groups within durables posted gains," including a one percent increase in automotive products.

The share of industrial capacity in use in the month was 76.6 percent, up slightly from May, but for manufacturing it was 75.4 percent, "three percentage points below its long-run average," the report said.

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