US industrial production slowed in March but over the first quarter posted its largest gain in a year, central bank data released on Tuesday showed. Industrial output rose 0.4 percent in March on volatile weather-related factors after a revised 1.1 percent increase in February, the Federal Reserve reported. The modest March gain came from a 5.3 percent jump in the output of utilities as unusually cold weather fired up heating demand, the Fed said. That offset declines in output in manufacturing, by 0.1 percent, and mining, down 0.2 percent. "The weaker March number fits with our view that, having ramped up production early in the year, in part to rebuild inventory, firms have restored a more normal level of activity heading into Q2," said Peter Newland of Barclays Research. For the first three months of the year, output surged at an annual rate of 5.0 percent, the strongest increase since the first quarter of 2012. Newland said that with consumption likely to soften due to January payroll tax hikes, industrial output growth was expected to slow in the second quarter.