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US industrial production rose 0.2% in July, vs 0.3% increase expected

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

U.S. factory output fell in July, pulled down by tumbling auto production.

The Federal Reserve says factory production dropped 0.1 percent last month. Overall industrial production — which adds output by mines and utilities — rose 0.2 percent. Mining output rose 0.5 percent, and utility production rose 1.6 percent.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast industrial production increasing 0.3 percent in July.

The Fed inadvertently released the report on its website before the scheduled release time of 9:15 a.m. Eastern. A Fed spokesman said the central bank inadvertently published the data on its website before its scheduled release, and attributed the early publication to "human error."

The drop in automotive production was partially offset by a 0.2 percent rise in other manufacturing production.

American manufacturers had bounced back from a slump in late 2015 and early 2016 caused by cutbacks in the energy industry and a strong dollar, which makes U.S. goods costlier in foreign markets. But the Fed says manufacturing output has been flat since February.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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