Production in the U.S. Probably Rose for 14th Time in 15 Months

Production in the U.S. probably grew in September for the 14th time in the 15 months since the recession ended, showing how manufacturing has been a mainstay of the recovery, economists said before a report today.

Output at factories, mines and utilities increased 0.2 percent for a second month, according to the median forecast of 62 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Gains have cooled from the 0.5 percent average monthly advances in the first half of the year, mimicking the slowdown in growth.

Improving demand from overseas and a pickup in business investment on new equipment may keep benefitting American manufacturers like Alcoa Inc., helping to support the world’s largest economy. The rebuilding of stockpiles, another component of the factory rebound, will probably cool following eight consecutive gains in inventories, a sign assembly lines will not accelerate much more.

“It’s a slow, steady recovery,” said Andrew Gretzinger, a senior economist at MFC Global Investment Management in Toronto. “It’s going to be slow going.”

The Federal Reserve’s production report is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. in Washington. Economists’ estimates ranged from declines of 0.3 percent to 0.4 percent gains.

Foreign demand may help sustain growth. Exports in August rose to the highest level in two years, Commerce Department figures showed last week. The gain was swamped by a 2.1 percent jump in imports that caused the trade deficit to widen.

Sales Overseas

New York-based Alcoa, the largest U.S. aluminum producer, reported profit that beat analysts’ estimates and said sales abroad are climbing.

“In countries such as China, Brazil, India and Russia, more and more people are moving into the middle class, driving demand,” Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld said in a statement on Oct. 7.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc., the second-largest maker of processors for personal computers, reported third-quarter sales that topped analysts’ estimates and also cited gains in China.

There is a “slow recovery in a few areas,” General Electric Co.’s Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt said during a call with analysts last week after the world’s biggest producer of power-plant turbines reported third-quarter sales that missed analysts estimates. “The environment continues to get better.”

Carmakers are among those seeing a pickup in the U.S. Auto sales increased in September, reaching a seasonally adjusted 11.8 million pace, the fastest since the federal government’s “cash for clunkers” incentive program last year.

Consumer Spending

Reports last week suggested manufacturing will continue to support the recovery and that consumer spending in gaining speed.

The New York Fed’s general economic index rose to the highest level in four months. Retail sales beat forecasts, prompting economists at Morgan Stanley in New York to boost their projection for third-quarter consumer spending.

The leading position of manufacturing in the recovery has been reflected in their shares. The Standard & Poor’s Supercomposite Machinery Index, which includes companies like Caterpillar Inc. and Deere & Co., has climbed 29 percent so far this year. The broader S&P 500 Index is up 5.5 percent.

In advance of the pickup in spending, businesses increased inventories in each of the first eight months of 2010, according to figures from the Commerce Department. Additional gains will probably be determined by the pace of household purchases.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke last week said he and his colleagues are considering ways they can stimulate the economy and that additional monetary stimulus may be warranted because inflation is too low and unemployment is too high.

                Bloomberg Survey

====================================================
                              Ind.     Cap.     NAHB
                             Prod.    Util.  Housing
                              MOM%        %    Index
====================================================

Date of Release              10/18    10/18    10/18
Observation Period           Sept.    Sept.     Oct.
----------------------------------------------------
Median                        0.2%    74.8%       14
Average                       0.2%    74.7%       14
High Forecast                 0.4%    75.1%       15
Low Forecast                 -0.3%    72.5%       12
Number of Participants          62       54       40
Previous                      0.2%    74.7%       13
----------------------------------------------------
4CAST Ltd.                    0.0%     ---        14
ABN Amro Inc.                 0.2%     ---        14
Action Economics              0.1%    74.8%       14
Ameriprise Financial Inc      0.0%    74.6%       14
Banesto                       0.2%     ---        14
Bank of Tokyo- Mitsubishi     0.2%    74.8%       13
Barclays Capital              0.2%    74.9%       14
Bayerische Landesbank         0.1%    74.8%     ---
BMO Capital Markets           0.2%    74.8%       14
BNP Paribas                   0.1%    74.8%       14
Capital Economics             0.2%    74.8%       14
CIBC World Markets            0.2%    74.8%     ---
Citi                          0.0%    74.6%     ---
ClearView Economics           0.3%    74.9%       14
Credit Agricole CIB           0.2%    74.7%     ---
Credit Suisse                 0.1%    74.8%     ---
Danske Bank                   0.1%     ---        14
DekaBank                      0.2%    74.8%       14
Desjardins Group              0.1%    74.7%     ---
Deutsche Bank Securities      0.2%    74.8%       14
Deutsche Postbank AG          0.2%     ---      ---
DZ Bank                       0.2%    74.8%       13
First Trust Advisors          0.3%    74.9%     ---
FTN Financial                 0.3%    74.0%       13
Helaba                        0.2%    74.9%       14
Hugh Johnson Advisors         0.3%    74.7%     ---
IDEAglobal                    0.2%    74.9%       14
IHS Global Insight            0.2%     ---      ---
Informa Global Markets        0.0%    74.6%       14
ING Financial Markets         0.3%    74.8%       14
Intesa-SanPaulo               0.2%     ---      ---
Janney Montgomery Scott       0.2%    74.9%       14
Jefferies & Co.               0.2%    74.8%       13
Landesbank Berlin             0.2%    74.8%     ---
Landesbank BW                 0.3%    74.9%       14
Maria Fiorini Ramirez         0.0%    74.7%       14
MFC Global Investment         0.2%    74.8%       14
Moody’s Analytics             0.3%    74.8%       14
Morgan Keegan & Co.           0.3%    74.8%     ---
Morgan Stanley & Co.          0.2%    74.8%     ---
Natixis                       0.0%    74.7%     ---
Nomura Securities Intl.       0.4%    75.0%       14
Nord/LB                       0.2%    74.8%       14
Pierpont Securities LLC       0.1%    74.8%     ---
PNC Bank                      0.2%    74.8%     ---
Raiffeisen Zentralbank        0.3%    74.9%     ---
Raymond James                 0.4%    75.1%     ---
RBC Capital Markets           0.1%    74.7%       15
Scotia Capital                0.2%    74.8%       14
Societe Generale              0.0%    74.9%       12
Standard Chartered            0.1%    74.8%       14
Stone & McCarthy Research     0.1%    72.5%       13
TD Securities                 0.2%    74.7%     ---
Thomson Reuters/IFR          -0.3%    74.5%       14
UniCredit Research           -0.1%    74.7%     ---
Union Investment              0.4%    75.1%       15
University of Maryland        0.3%    74.9%       14
Wells Fargo & Co.             0.2%    74.8%     ---
WestLB AG                     0.2%    74.8%       14
Westpac Banking Co.           0.0%     ---        13
Woodley Park Research         0.2%    74.8%       12
Wrightson ICAP               -0.1%    74.6%       13
====================================================

To contact the reporter on this story: Courtney Schlisserman in Washington cschlisserma@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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