US industrial output unexpectedly fell for the third time in the last four months, data released on Wednesday showed, as manufacturing softened and utilities output declined amid warmer weather.

Industrial production, a gauge of output from factories, mines and utilities, declined 0.5 per cent month-on-month in April, the Federal Reserve said. That compared with economists’ forecasts for it to stay unchanged and followed an upwardly revised 0.2 per cent increase in March (previously minus 0.1 per cent).

Manufacturing remained a weak spot, with the report showing it fell 0.5 per cent after being unchanged in March. This comes after the Institute for Supply Management said US manufacturing grew at its weakest level in 2 and a half years in April.

Strength in the US dollar and uncertainties surround the US-China trade war that have only escalated in recent weeks have hamstrung factory activity.

Wednesday’s report also showed the utilities index fell 3.5 per cent, while the mining sub-index registered growth of 1.6 per cent.

That followed Wednesday morning’s retail sales report, which showed sales fell last month following their strongest gain in 18 months in March. The two reports add to the recent mixed bag of economic data.

Treasury yields were lower ahead of both reports but moved down further following the data. The yield on the US 10-year was down 5.1 basis points to 2.3679 per cent, while that on the two-year slid 5.4 basis points to 2.1493 per cent. Yields move inversely to price.


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