Eurozone factory output edges up in May

City A.M. Reporter
Output at euro zone factories grew in May, but not enough to make up for falls earlier in the year as production in France and the Netherlands sank, the latest sign that the euro zone debt crisis is also eating away at northern European economies.

Industrial production in the 17 countries sharing the euro rose 0.6 per cent in May from April, the EU's statistics office Eurostat said on Thursday, beating expectations of economists polled by Reuters, who had forecast no growth in the month.

But Eurostat revised downward the reading for April to a 1.1 per cent drop from a 0.8 per cent decrease, the deepest fall so far this year, highlighting the weak demand for goods as the euro zone suffers from its 2-1/2 year debt crisis.

Industrial output fell 2.1 per cent in France in May, a drop second only in the zone to Slovenia's 3.2 per cent slide.

Production also fell 1.6 per cent in the Netherlands, where the economy is expected to shrink 0.9 per cent this year, according to the European Commission and making it the worst performing economy in the euro zone's wealthy, northern core.

A 2.3 per cent fall in energy production in May for the euro zone as a whole, after a 5.3 per cent rise in April, appeared to explain the modest reading as output rose for consumer goods and capital goods, such as machinery to make other products.