INDUSTRIAL orders in the Eurozone defied expectations in the final month of 2010, official data revealed yesterday.
The new orders index, compiled by the European Union’s statistics office Eurostat, jumped by 2.2 per cent in December, compared to the previous month.
Across the European Union as a whole, industrial orders rose by 2.5 per cent from November to December.
Compared to December 2009, new orders grew 18.5 per cent in both the single currency area and across the whole 27 country EU.
“This rather surprising outcome is due to very strong monthly readings coming out of Italy up [9.1 per cent], France [up 7.5 per cent] and Netherlands [up 9.7 per cent],” said Fabio Fois of Barclays Capital.
These results more than offset drops in new orders in Germany (-2.9 per cent) and Ireland (12.4 per cent), Fois said.
Despite Germany’s monthly drop, over the last quarter of the year the Eurozone’s largest economy saw industrial orders rise three per cent.
“Yet orders for durable consumer goods fell a further 2.3 per cent in December after dropping 1.5 per cent in November,” warned Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight.
“This fuels the view that Eurozone consumers remain reluctant to spend on big-ticket items and are a weak link in economic activity.”