BRUSSELS, Feb 12 Falling production of energy
and capital goods curbed euro zone industrial production more
than expected in December, data from the European Union's
Statistics Office showed on Wednesday, underlining the fragility
of the bloc's economic recovery.
Industrial output in 17 countries sharing the euro in
December 2013 fell 0.7 percent on the month, after a downwardly
revised 1.6 percent rise in November, Eurostat said. Analysts
polled by Reuters expected only a 0.3 percent fall in December.
The decrease was driven mainly by a 2.1 percent fall in
output of energy and capital goods, with production of
non-durable consumer goods down 0.1 percent against November.
Compared with the same period of last year, industrial
production rose 0.5 percent in December after a downwardly
revised 2.8 percent rise in November. But analysts had expected
a 1.8 percent expansion year-on-year.
The data shows the fragility of the recovery in the 9.5
trillion euro economy, which economists expect to have expanded
0.2 percent quarter-on-quarter in the last three months of
2013, up from 0.1 percent in the third quarter.
Eurostat will publish its first estimate of euro zone GDP
for the fourth quarter on Friday.
Only three out of 17 countries sharing the euro saw
industrial production rising in December, led by a 2.7 percent
growth on the month in Slovenia and a 2.6 percent jump in
Portugal, which is expected to exit from an international
bailout later this year, saw production rising 0.7 percent
compared to November.
Industrial production in Europe's strongest economy Germany
fell 0.7 percent on the month, while second largest France was
down 0.3 percent and the third biggest Italy fell 0.9 percent
month on month.
All three countries saw industrial production rising month
on month in November.