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US Industrial Production: Noisy data masks underlying improvement - Wells Fargo

US Industrial production rose 0.9% in October as the factory sector got back on track after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, explained analysts at Wells Fargo. They see that the manufacturing output surge is encouraging but overstated by the hurricane rebound.

Key Quotes: 

“Industrial production jumped 0.9 percent in October, led by a 1.3 percent surge in manufacturing output, which matched the largest monthly increases since 2010. The factory sector has been held back over the past few months as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma knocked some capacity offline that has only now begun to swing back in full force. The Federal Reserve, which produces the industrial production statistics, estimates that, excluding the effects of the hurricanes, output advanced just 0.3 percent for the total index and 0.2 percent for manufacturing.”

“Although the output data have been noisy recently, the trend remains broadly upward. Industrial production and manufacturing output are up 2.9 percent and 2.7 percent year over year, respectively, a clear improvement from the past couple years. Data on the factory sector continue to be broadly encouraging. The ISM manufacturing index is hovering near its highest level since early in the expansion, and core capital goods orders suggest solid spending by businesses on equipment.”

“The dollar has weakened from its late 2016/early 2017 high, and the broadbased pick-up in global economic growth has created a rising tide for the world’s economies. Net exports have been additive to real U.S. GDP growth for three consecutive quarters, the first time this has occurred since Q3-2012 through Q1-2013.”

“The improvement in industrial production in the United States has coincided with stronger industrial production growth in other advanced economies and developing economies. With encouraging fundamentals in place, we expect the slow but steady improvement in the U.S. factory sector to continue in the coming months.”

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