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Eurozone factory output falls again

Jan 14 2013 13:21

Brussels - Output at eurozone factories fell for the third straight month in November and against expectations of a rise, but the end of 2012 probably marked the deepest point in the bloc's recession. 

Industrial production in the 17 countries sharing the euro fell 0.3% in November from the previous month, continuing its fall since the European summer, the EU's statistics office Eurostat said on Monday.

Factory output, two-thirds of which is generated by Germany, France and Italy, was also down almost 4% on an annual basis in the month. Economists polled by Reuters expected a very modest, 0.1% rise in November from October, and a 3.2% fall on an annual basis

The eurozone's debt crisis has driven a vicious cycle of falling business consumer morale and rising, record unemployment that has sucked away demand for factory-made goods, ranging from cars to food. 

While the eurozone avoided a break-up last year, helped by a European Central Bank announcement of a plan to buy government bonds, households are suffering the most from the crisis. Production of durable consumer goods such as televisions fell nearly 8% in November compared to a year earlier. 

But production of machinery to produce other goods, an indicator of future business, rose 0.7% in November from October, after two months of losses. 

If production of those capital goods continues to increase, that could support business surveys and the view of the ECB that the eurozone will recover from recession in 2013 and that the economy hit bottom in the fourth quarter of last year.  

"The worst is behind us," David Mackie, an economist at JP Morgan said in a research note. "We believe that the euro area will exit recession in the first half of this year," he said.  

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eurozone  |  europe debt crisis


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