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Eurozone Industrial Production Declines in December

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Eurozone Industrial Production Declines in December

Industrial output in the Eurozone fell sharply in December, a sign the currency region continues to struggle in its recovery efforts.

Eurozone industrial production in December declined at a faster pace than forecast, the European Commission’s statistics branch showed today. The sharp decrease followed a gain of 1.6 percent in November. On an annualized basis, industrial production rose 0.5 percent, compared to a gain of 2.8 percent the previous month. Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a gain of 1.8 percent year-on-year.

Industrial output excluding construction has declined in four of the last six months, raising concern the Eurozone still has a ways to go to ensure sustained recovery. Output was down sharply in Estonia, where production slid 5.7 percent. Industrial output declined sharply in the Netherlands (-2.6) percent), France (-2.4 percent) and Ireland (-2.1 percent). Only three of the 17 nations sharing the euro saw industrial output rise in December, official data showed.

Energy and capital goods were the hardest hit industries, each declining 2.1 percent. Production of non-durable goods fell 0.1 percent. Durable consumer goods and intermediate goods rose 0.4 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

Compared to the third quarter, Eurozone industrial output was 0.3 percent higher in the final three months of 2013. Economists believe this will translate into a higher GDP reading for the fourth quarter. The European Commission is expected to release the advance estimate of fourth quarter GDP Friday. The report could show the Eurozone economy expanded 0.2 percent in the final three months of the year, according to a median estimate of economists polled by Reuters.

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