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BRASILIA, July 1 (Reuters) - Brazil's industrial output remained unchanged in May as a pick-up in automobile production helped offset a decline in food processing and oil refining, government data showed on Friday.
The steady performance following two months of modest growth was in line with expectations in a Reuters poll and reinforced expectations that Brazilian manufacturers are still far from recovering from one of their worst crises on record.
Production retreated 7.8 percent from May 2015, according to Brazil's statistics agency IBGE. Manufacturers have already cut production by about 20 percent since 2013 as Brazil has fallen into its deepest recession in probably more than a century.
Automobile output grew a seasonally adjusted 4.8 percent in May from April, IBGE said, while food processing dropped 7.0 percent. Production of capital goods grew 1.5 percent.
Economists expect Brazil's industrial output to shrink about 6 percent in 2016, in what is expected to be its last year of deep contraction before a gradual recovery starting in 2017. Manufacturers were hoping a weaker currency could help boost exports, but the exchange rate has strengthened in recent weeks. (Reporting by Silvio Cascione; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)