May 13, 2020 / 9:18 AM / 16 days ago

Euro zone industry output suffers deepest monthly fall on record

FILE PHOTO: A battery cell is installed at a Mercedes-Benz EQC electric car in a production line at a plant in Bremen, Germany, January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone industrial production suffered its steepest monthly fall on record in March as coronavirus containment measures severely hit activity across the single currency area, data showed on Wednesday.

The European Union’s statistics office Eurostat said industrial production in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell 11.3% month-on-month in March, the sharpest decline since records started in 1991, for a 12.9% year-on-year plunge.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 12.1% month-on-month decline and a 12.4% annual decrease.

Eurostat said production of durable consumer goods like cars, washing machines or television sets fell the most, tumbling 26.3% on the month and 24.2% year-on-year.

The output of capital goods - used for investments - also fell sharply by 15.9% month-on-month and 21.5% year-on-year.

Non-durable consumer goods, like food, recorded the smallest fall of only 1.6% month-on-month and 0.8% year-on-year.

Germany, a big exporter of capital goods and durable consumer goods, saw its industrial production fall 14.2% year-on-year in March, while Ireland, a producer of food, reported a surprising 25.3 percent increase in industrial output.

Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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