Euro zone industrial output returns to strong growth in January
Euro zone industrial production grew sharply and by more than expected in January, driven in particular by increased output of capital goods, such as equipment and machinery, the European Union statistics office said on Monday.
Industrial production in the 19-member single currency zone was 2.1 percent higher in January than in December, Eurostat said, and grew by 2.8 percent year-on-year.
The data were significantly higher than expectations and followed two months of declines. Economists polled by Reuters had forecasts a 1.7 percent month-on-month increase, and an output rise of only 1.4 percent on a yearly basis.
Eurostat also revised up the December figures, which now showed a monthly output fall of only 0.5 percent instead of the 1.0 percent decrease estimated earlier. Year-on-year, the figure was revised up sharply to a decline of 0.1 percent from a previous estimate of a 1.3 percent drop. Output growth in January was driven mostly by capital goods, an indicator of future industrial investments, which saw a 3.9 percent monthly rise.
Production increased 2.4 percent for both energy and non-durable consumer goods. Output of durable consumer goods, such as fridges or cars, went up 1.3 percent. All major economies of the euro zone expanded production in January, compared to the previous month, reversing a two-month negative trend in the euro zone.
In Germany, the bloc's largest economy, industrial output rose 2.9 percent in January on a monthly basis. In France production grew 1.4 percent, and in Italy output by 1.9 percent.
Buckling the trend, Spain, the fourth biggest economy of the euro zone, experienced a 0.2 percent industrial output decrease on a monthly basis.