The latest US government figures show that industrial production there fell in April, by the biggest amount in eight months. The US Federal Reserve said that the fall in April was 0.2%. That surprised economists who had been expecting an increase. The figure measures the output of US factories, mines and utilities. It was the largest drop since a 0.3% decline last September. The Fed also revised the March figure downwards. It seems they rose 0.1% rather than the previously estimated 0.3%. Work at factories, which accounts for almost 90% of industrial production, was unchanged last month, having dropped by 0.3% in March.
Another factor was warmer weather which led to a decrease in utility output from energy companies. In addition General Motors and Ford cut production in order to reduce their inventories after sales slowed down earlier in the year. There was also a rise in US wholesale prices in April, partly caused by increased costs for new cars, petrol and cigarettes.Wholesale prices measure what factories, farms and other suppliers are paid for their goods.