Dire drop in Eurozone first quarter GDP expected as output plummets in March

EUROZONE industrial production plummeted by more than a fifth year-on-year in March, data yesterday showed, setting a record and indicating first quarter economic output could have contracted more than expected.<br /><br />Industrial production in the 16 countries using the euro fell two per cent month-on-month and 20.2 per cent year-on-year, the European Union&rsquo;s statistics office, Eurostat, said yesterday.<br /><br />The data was far worse than the one per cent monthly decline and 18 per cent expected by the majority of economists.<br /><br />&ldquo;There are no green shoots here, everything is either a quarter or a fifth down on the year,&rdquo; said Stuart Bennett, European economist at Calyon. Economists said the data, which comes ahead of first quarter GDP data, due to be published Friday, suggest the decline in output could be worse than expected.<br /><br />&ldquo;Following today&rsquo;s release this indicator is pointing to a -2.2 to -2.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter reading in quarter one,&rdquo; said Saleem Bahaj, economist at Goldman Sachs.