Friday, August 15, 2008

Industrial Output Up 0.2 Percent

by PJ on 8/15/2008 09:32:00 AM

The Fed's industrial production numbers for July are out. I'm pretty much a housing guy, myself, but I'm told these numbers are important by a few economists I know (CR being one of them!). From Bloomberg:

Output at factories, mines and utilities rose 0.2 percent last month after a 0.4 percent gain in June ... Capacity utilization, which measures the proportion of plants in use, increased to 79.9 percent from 79.8 percent.

Demand for autos increased for a third month, reflecting a continued rebound from a strike at an auto-parts supplier. Gains elsewhere signal demand from overseas continued to boost orders even as U.S. consumer and business spending weaken...

Output was forecast to be unchanged according to the median estimate of 79 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News after a previously reported gain of 0.5 percent in June. Projections ranged from a decline of 0.5 percent to a gain of 0.4 percent.

I'll let you guys sort out why we're seeing overseas demand boost orders (ahem, dollar, anyone?). Also, this morning was the Empire State Manufacturing Survey, which found manufacturing gains during August for the first time in four months.

Stocks appear to be headed for a higher open today, but I think that's mostly due to falling oil prices (below $114 this morning) and growing concern that the rest of the world is finally catching our (the U.S.') cold. Which probably brings us right back to the dollar, doesn't it?