UPDATE 1-Brazil industrial output rises unexpectedly in May
(Adds details from IBGE report) SAO PAULO, July 2 (Reuters) - Brazilian industry advanced unexpectedly in May, led by an uptick in consumer goods production, though the data is unlikely to dispel concerns over a looming recession in Latin America's largest economy. Industrial production in Brazil rose 0.6 percent in May from April, government statistics agency IBGE said on Thursday. It was the first increase after three straight months of declines, and defied the median estimate for a 0.6 percent contraction in a Reuters survey of 25 analysts. Consumer goods production rose 1.4 percent in the month, led by perfumes, cleaning products and clothing. Production grew in 14 of 24 industrial segments on a monthly basis, with transportation equipment excluding automobiles contributing the most to the advance. Still, Brazilian industry has retreated 6.9 percent in the year to date compared with the same period a year earlier. Most economists say industry's steady erosion over the past three years is not about to reverse course in the short term. A drop in commodities prices and greater fiscal tightening is weighing on the nation's economy, which many analysts expect to fall into recession this year. Durable consumer goods retreated 0.1 percent from April and 17.8 percent from May 2014 as heavier household debt loads and higher interest rates sapped demand for big-ticket items. Hard-to-fix structural problems, such as low productivity, poor infrastructure at home and high tax and labor costs are widely cited as further barriers to growth among local manufacturers. Production retreated 8.8 percent in May from a year earlier , less than the median forecast for a 10.2 percent decline. (Percent change) May/Apr May'15/May'14 Capital goods 0.2 -26.3 Intermediate goods -0.5 -4.9 Consumer goods 1.4 -12.0 Durable consumer goods -0.1 -17.8 Semi-durable and 1.2 -10.4 non-durable consumer goods Industrial output 0.6 -8.8 (Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier and Walter Brandimarte; Writing by Asher Levine; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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