Eurozone industrial output jumps despite overall gloomy trend

Ben Southwood
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INDUSTRY in the Eurozone enjoyed a shock improvement in August, but the monthly blip was not enough to overturn the medium term downward trend, according to government data released yesterday.

Industrial production expanded by 1.5 per cent in France between July and August, driven by a 1.8 per cent expansion in manufacturing output, Insee said, but industrial production remained two per cent below August last year.

Industry managed to produce 1.7 per cent more in crisis-hit Italy compared to August, Istat revealed, although this monthly gain still left production 5.2 per cent below the same month in 2011.

Greece came in for a clobbering. Industrial production fell 10.9 per cent overall between July and August, according to Elstat, led by a 53.3 per cent monthly collapse in consumer durables, taking production to just over a quarter of what it was in 2005.

Though this fall was not big enough to put industrial production below the figure for August last year, industrial production so far this year was 4.1 per cent lower than the same eight months in 2011. Trade also collapsed, according to separate figures. Exports excluding oil plunged 9.8 per cent compared to August 2011, while imports plummeted 7.2 per cent, adding to a year of declines.

And German inflation-hawks will be worried by the rapid speed of wholesale prices inflation – prices rose 1.3 per cent between August and September, capping off a 4.2 per cent rise over the year, according to data from Destatis.