Euro Industry Sees Strongest Pick-Up in More Than a Year
(Bloomberg) -- Industry gave the euro-area economy a surprisingly strong lift at the start of 2019 after months of disappointing data cast clouds over the region’s outlook.
A 1.4 percent jump in industrial output -- higher than the 1 percent gain forecast -- was driven by a rebound in some of the bloc’s largest economies, including France, Italy and Spain. Gains in energy and non-durable consumer goods production were particularly strong, though output was still down 1.1 percent on the year.
Germany took the shine off the positive numbers reported elsewhere, with both factory orders and production numbers showing unexpected drops in January. The country’s economy ministry blamed the weakness on new temporary factors including car-model changes and strikes at suppliers. Production excluding motor vehicles strengthened, continuing a trend from the previous month.
The euro-area figures offer evidence that momentum may be reviving after a protracted slowdown. Last week, the European Central Bank slashed its 2019 outlook for the region’s economy by the most since late 2014 -- just before it started quantitative easing. It also unveiled fresh stimulus and pledged to keep interest rates low for longer.
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