Euro zone industry output falls by less than expected in mild February

FILE PHOTO: Employees work on the production and quality control line of the Renault Kangoo car at the Renault Maubeuge Construction Automobile factory in Maubeuge, France, November 8, 2018. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone industrial output declined in February but by less than expected, as mild weather meant that a surge in energy production at the start of 2019 reversed.

The European Union’s statistics office Eurostat said on Friday that production in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell by 0.2 percent in February and by 0.3 percent year-on-year.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.6 percent monthly decrease and a 1.0 percent annual drop.

The figures for January were also revised up to a 1.9 percent month-on-month increase from 1.4 percent and to a 0.7 percent year-on-year decline from a previous negative of 1.1 percent.

Energy output, the main driver of January’s increase, showed the sharpest decrease in February, when temperatures were above season averages. Indeed all components of industrial production declined month-on-month except for output of non-durable consumer goods.

That component, which includes food and clothing, rose by 0.9 percent in February after a 2.1 percent increase in January.

Production fell in Germany by 0.4 percent, the second consecutive monthly decline, but rose in France and Italy, the second and third biggest economies in the euro zone, by respectively 0.4 and 0.8 percent. Output in both had risen in January.

For Eurostat release, click here

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, editing by Robin Emmott