Industry in the Eurozone continues to edge upward

INDUSTRIAL production in the Eurozone has increased for the fifth month in a row, recording a 0.4 per cent increase in February and up from 0.2 per cent the previous month, the EU’s institute of statistics Eurostat announced yesterday.

The result was weaker than expected, coming in at half the market expectations of a 0.8 per cent increase.

Nonetheless, the gain was enough to push the annual growth rate up one point to 7.3 per cent from 6.3 per cent in January.

Among the main Eurozone countries, production rose highest in Portugal and Slovenia (1.7 per cent), followed by Germany and Italy (1.4 per cent) while France and Spain contributed a modest 0.4 per cent.

ING’s Martin van Vliet was optimistic, commenting: “February’s increase in Eurozone industrial production confirms that the industrial recovery remains firmly on track.

“But the combination of high oil prices, a stronger euro and the slowdown in world trade makes us more cautious about industry’s prospects for the second half of this year,” van Vliet added.