US manufacturing output was down in February, with the country’s Federal Reserve tracking a third straight monthly decline in the sector.
A mixture of extreme winter weather, low oil prices and a strengthening dollar – up 13.5 per cent compared to the country’s major trading partners – combined for a result lower than forecast by economists.
"This is a very toxic cocktail for U.S. manufacturing,” economist Thomas Costerg, economist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York, told Reuters of the conditions that contributed to the industry’s 0.2 per cent contraction.
“We could see some of these headwinds lasting for a few months, the first half of the year will be quite difficult."
Reuters’ poll of economists predicted growth of 0.1 per cent in February.
Automotive production performed especially poorly, and dipped 3.0 per cent in the month.