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U.S. December Industrial Production showed slightly softer performance than consensus opinion. The 0.6-percent decline was slightly below the consensus figure of a 0.5-percent slowdown. Additionally, the initial November Industrial Production number was revised downward from -0.2 percent to -0.3 percent.
The U.S. December Capacity Utilization came in below consensus at 80.6 percent (consensus was for 80.9 percent). The November capacity was also revised downward to 81.4 percent from the initial report of 81.6 percent.
The nation's industrial sector last month fell at the quickest pace since June 1998. The decline marked the third consecutive monthly decrease, the first such string since the recession of 1991.
The figures provide further confirmation that the domestic manufacturing sector is in the midst of a dramatic slowdown as consumers and businesses cut back on spending and orders for new big-ticket items.