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US industrial production failed to regain its rigour last month, confounding market expectations for a bounce back after shrinking in January.

Industrial production — a measure of everything made by factories, mines and utilities —was flat in February from the previous month, when it fell by a revised 0.1 per cent, according to data from the Federal Reserve. Economists had forecast output to rise 0.2 per cent.

An unusually mild winter has depressed demand for home and office heating and prompted utilities production to drop sharply for a second month in a row. Output from the sector fell 5.7 per cent in February, offseting gains in mining and construction.

The disappointing data comes as reports published earlier this month showed that US manufacturing continued to gather strength.

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