March 6, 2018 / 1:06 PM / 17 days ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil industry down snaps 4-month string of gains

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    By Bruno Federowski
    BRASILIA, March 6 (Reuters) - Brazil's industry snapped a
four-month string of gains in January as auto output sharply
declined, highlighting an uneven economic recovery.
    Industrial output fell 2.4 percent in January from the month
before, government statistics agency IBGE said on Tuesday, a
larger decline than the 1.9 percent median forecast in a Reuters
poll of economists.           
    That was the first underwhelming result for the nation's
industry since September, adding to signs of reduced economic
momentum following a weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter gross
domestic product reading.             
    Auto production, which had shown signs of consistent
strength in the second half of 2017, fell 7.6 percent in the
month, helping to drag down industrial firms as a whole.
    Weakness was widespread, with 19 of the 24 industrial
segments tracked by IBGE falling in the month. Still, IBGE
economist André Macedo said the monthly decline is compatible
with a slow industrial recovery.
    "The industrial sector continues to present characteristics
of a recovery of last year's losses, though a gradual recovery,"
he said.
    Industrial output rose 5.7 percent from the year before,
compared to the median economist estimate of a 5.85 percent
    Record-low interest rates have helped to lift Brazil's
industry from a recession-induced rout, which left firms sitting
on top of idle capacity and heavy debt loads.

 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski
Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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