Brazil March industrial confidence at seven-month low, hammered by COVID

March 26, 2021 7:26 AM EDT

FILE PHOTO: Employees fill boxes with ethanol-based hand sanitizers in AGE do Brasil factory, hired by brewing Ambev to produce hand sanitizers to donate to public hospitals during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Vinhedo, Brazil, March 25,

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BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian industrial confidence fell in March for a third month to its lowest since last August, a survey showed on Friday, as a second COVID-19 wave triggers new lockdown measures in many states.

The Fundacao Getulio Vargas's national industrial confidence index for March fell 3.7 points to a seasonally adjusted 104.2 from 107.9 in February.

That is the lowest since August 2020, and a further slip from December's 10-year high.

The central bank on Thursday revised up its 2021 outlook for the sector in its quarterly inflation report. It now expects industrial production to grow 6.4% this year, up from 5.1% in its last report.

The main driver will be manufacturing, which it expects to expand by 9.8% this year compared with its last forecast of 6.1%. That would more than make up for downwardly-revised growth in the civil construction and power sectors, the central bank said.

(Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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