Industrial production (IP) grew 3.5% yoy in February (from 2.7% in January), above both - our forecast of 3.3% and market expectations of 2.9% (as per Bloomberg). According to figures adjusted by working days, IP expanded at the same pace, taking the quarterly annual rate to 3.1% in February (from 3.3% in 4Q22). Looking at the breakdown, the quarterly annual rate for construction sector stood at 3.7% in February (from 2.6% in 4Q22), while manufacturing and mining sectors stood at 3.4% (from 4.60%) and 1.3% (from 0.3%), respectively.
Using seasonally adjusted figures, IP expanded 0.7% mom, supported by a strong expansion in the mining sector of 4.1% (services associated to mining contributed the most: 11.3%) likely reflecting statistical volatility. In contrast, construction and manufacturing sectors contracted 0.2% mom and 0.5%, respectably. The seasonally adjusted annualized quarter over quarter (qoq/saar) rate of industrial production stood at 4.9% in February (from 3.0% in 4Q22), with manufacturing output and construction sector at 2.2% (from -1.0%) and 11.2% (from 11.3%), respectively. We note construction output remains 11% below the level at the beginning of the administration (December 2018).
Our GDP growth forecast for this year stands at 1.8%. In our view, the economy will cool down in the last three quarters of this year, slowed by a softer U.S. economy, after still-decent GDP growth in 1Q23.