In December, US industrial production picked up by 0.4% M/M, slightly less than expected (0.5% M/M), while also the previous figure was downwardly revised from -0.2% M/M to -0.3% M/M. The details show that weakness was based in utilities, which dropped by 2.7% M/M, probably due to the warm weather. Manufacturing production, on the contrary, rebounded by 0.9% M/M in December and mining rose by 0.3% M/M.
The breakdown of the manufacturing sector indicates that strength was broad based as production of machinery (2.1% M/M), computers and electronics (1.0% M/M) and motor vehicles and parts (0.6%M/M) all increased at the end of 2011. So while the headline figure was somewhat weaker than expected, the details were strong as the decline in utilities was expected and due to warmer weather. Manufacturing production rose at the sharpest pace is one year, confirming the improvement that was recently seen in the survey indicators.