The nation's industrial production grew a modest 0.3 percent in May, with more than half that gain in the auto industry, the Federal Reserve reported. The figure was one more indication that the economy is moving fairly slowly.
Auto production in May was at its highest rate since November 1979. But analysts said that appeared to be because the industry is building up inventories to tide itself over this summer, when it will close production lines to switch to new models. Meanwhile, Citibank, ranked second in the nation by deposits, and Bankers Trust, ranked eighth, posted a 19.5-percent prime lending rate. Sixth-ranked Chemical Bank's rate was l owered to 19 percent Monday.