US Industrial Output Contracts In March As Auto Production Slumps

Having slipped for two consecutive months, US Manufacturing production was expected to modestly rebound in March (by 0.1% MoM) but it failed, ending unchanged.

However, headline industrial production data was not just woirse than expected but contracted by 0.1% MoM in March...

The biggest drivers were Mining which fell 0.8% in March after no change in February, and Motor vehicles and parts production, which tumbled 2.5% in March to the lowest level since July. Q1 saw auto production slide 6.9% - the biggest drop since Oct 2014.

Capacity utilization fell to 78.8% from 79% in February (revised down from 79.1%).

Manufacturing output fell at a 1.1 percent annual rate in the first quarter, the worst performance since late 2017.

As Bloomberg notes, the data signal further manufacturing softness as producers cope with an inventory buildup, continuing uncertainty around trade and a dimming global growth outlook.