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Industrial output suffers broad decline in April

Pump jacks are seen in the Midway Sunset oilfield, California, April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Pump jacks are seen in the Midway Sunset oilfield, California, April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Industrial production fell by more than expected in April, reflecting a broad decline in factory output and a weather-related decrease in demand for utilities.

Industrial production dropped by 0.5 percent last month after a revised 0.3 percent increase in March, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday. Economists polled by Reuters had expected output to decline 0.2 percent in April.

Factory production decreased by 0.4 percent, compared with a forecast for a 0.1 percent rise. The decline was broad-based, with the production of durable goods down 0.6 percent, partly due to a 1.3 percent fall in motor vehicles and parts.

Utilities output sank 3.7 percent last month, the Fed said, as heating demand fell back to a more typical seasonal level after jumping in March due to unusually cold weather

Industry capacity utilization, a measure of how fully firms are deploying their resources, dropped sharply to 77.8 percent from 78.3 percent in March, reducing it to 2.4 percentage points below its long-run average, the Fed said. Economists had expected a reading of 78.3 percent.

(Reporting by Alister Bull; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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