zone industrial production was much stronger than expected in August, data showed on Wednesday, indicating the economic slowdown in the third quarter might be smaller than feared.
The European Union's Statistics Office said industrial production in the 17 countries using the euro rose 1.2 per cent month-on-month in August for a 5.3 per cent year-on-year increase.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.7 per cent monthly decline in output and a 2.2 percent year-on-year increase.
The European Commission expects economic growth in the euro zone to slow to 0.1 percent quarter-on-quarter in the third and fourth quarters of 2011 from 0.2 per cent in the April-June period, largely because of the negative impact on confidence from the sovereign debt crisis.
But the August data showed that the annual increase in the production of capital goods, used for investment, jumped 12.2 per cent and the output of durable consumer goods, an indication of consumer confidence, rose 2.8 percent in annual terms.
In the euro zone's biggest economy, Germany, output fell one per cent month-on-month but was still 7.8 percent higher than a year earlier.
Ireland, which is implementing an austerity programme to regain market confidence in its public finances, showed a production jump of 4.4 per cent month-on-month and 10.1 per cent year-on-year.