Spanish output leads boost for euro industry

THE EUROZONE’S industry grew at a faster pace than analysts expected in February, climbing by 1.7 per cent from the same month in 2013 as the currency union continued its modest recovery.

Production expanded by 0.2 per cent from January, driven upwards by strong performances in Germany and Spain, with 0.4 and 0.7 per cent growth respectively.

Despite the improvement, industrial output is still far lower than it was in 2010, and is more than 10 per cent below record levels just before the financial crisis.

“Today’s data confirmed that the recovery in consumer demand in the Eurozone remains weak: durable consumer goods production fell 1.2 per cent on the month, mostly reversing January’s rise. Moreover, the strong euro is likely to serve as another headwind for industry in the months ahead, ensuring that the sector’s recovery remains sluggish,” said Capital Economics’ Jessica Hinds.

Year-on-year, French production is still falling, down by one per cent from February last year. The Netherlands was the worst performer in the bloc, with output down a concerning 8.9 per cent from the same level 12 months earlier.

Italy’s industrial growth is also less impressive than average, with a 0.4 per cent boost for the country over the year.

Berenberg’s Christian Schulz added: “Both countries (France and Italy) remain under pressure to step up reform efforts, in order to climb back up the rankings. The very weak data in the Netherlands is probably down to special factors, but may well be a drag on Eurozone first quarter GDP data as well.”

On the year, production of capital goods and intermediate goods was particularly strong up four and 4.2 per cent respectively, while energy dropped by 8.5 per cent.