June 5, 2018 / 12:52 PM / 14 days ago

UPDATE 1-Ethanol props up Brazil industry output more than expected in April

 (Recasts throughout with details, context)
    By Bruno Federowski
    BRASILIA, June 5 (Reuters) - Ethanol production propped up
Brazil's industrial output more than expected in April as the
sugarcane harvest kicked off, in a welcome sign to the ailing
manufacturers after three straight months of underwhelming
production.
    Industrial output rose 0.8 percent from a month earlier,
government statistics agency IBGE said on Tuesday, surpassing
the median 0.5 percent estimate in a Reuters poll of economists.
          
    It was the strongest pace of growth since December 2017,
owing most to a 5.2 percent increase in production of coke, oil
derivatives and biofuels, IBGE economist André Macedo said.
    Output rose 8.9 percent from the year before, compared to a
consensus estimate of 7.7 percent.            
    That should provide some relief from fears of a slowdown
early in the second quarter as Latin America's largest economy
pushes through with an uneven recovery.
    Yet the short-term outlook for Brazil's industry looks
bleak, after a nationwide truckers' strike paralyzed several key
corporate sectors in the final weeks of May, bumping up input
costs and driving several economists to cut their gross domestic
product (GDP) forecasts.
    A private survey showed last week that Brazil's
manufacturing activity cooled in May, weighed down by a weaker
currency and uncertainty around this year's presidential
elections.             

 (Reporting by Bruno Federowski; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
  
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