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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2005, 14:37 GMT
Jump in US manufacturing output
US industrial plant
Both US manufacturing and wider industrial figures improved
US manufacturing production jumped 1.4% in October, its biggest monthly rise in six years, according to figures from the Federal Reserve.

The increase was boosted by businesses recovering after the hurricanes that hit output in August and September, and growth in the aerospace sector.

The wider industrial output figure, which also includes figures for gas, oil and mining rose 0.9%.

This was the fastest growth in industrial output since May last year.

The figures were in-line with market expectations.

One-off factors

October's industrial output numbers follow after a 1.5% drop in September caused by the hurricanes, the biggest one-month decline in more than two decades.

The figures were further boosted by the ending of a strike at aeroplane giant Boeing, which saw aerospace production figures rebound.

Analysts were broadly in agreement that while the figures were exciting at first glace, they were greatly assisted by the one-off factors of hurricanes and situation at Boeing.

"Overall it does appear that manufacturing is doing OK," said Kevin Logan, senior economist at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein.

Cooling housing market

Separate official figures on Thursday showed that the rapidly growing US housing market could finally be starting to cool.

US housing starts fell 5.6% in October, government data showed, while a separate drop in permits for new construction was the largest decline in more than six years.

The Commerce Department said October housing starts declined to a 2.014 million unit annual rate, slower than the 2.070 million unit pace expected by analysts.

Signs that the housing market is slowing down will be welcome news to outgoing Fed chief Alan Greenspan.

Mr Greenspan, who is to retire in January, warned earlier this year that the US housing boom was unsustainable.


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