Eurozone industrial production suffered its sharpest fall in almost three years in November led by Germany’s economic slowdown, as the single currency bloc’s woes continued.
Euro area production fell 1.7 per cent in November compared with the previous month, the EU’s statistical office Eurostat said, the sharpest monthly drop since February 2016.
It comes after Germany endured its biggest production decline in two years, fuelling fears the country may have entered a technical recession in the fourth quarter of 2018.
The largest decreases came in Ireland, -7.5 per cent, and Portugal, -2.5 per cent, followed by Germany and Lithuania, both dropping 1.9 per cent.
Year-on-year German production fell 5.1 per cent, second only to Ireland.
“Eurozone manufacturers look to be struggling as the global economy slows,” Centre for Economics Business Research economist Alastair Neame said.
“Although temporary factors such as emissions standards may be affecting car production, the rise of protectionism and uncertainty are likely to have a long lasting impact on the sector’s fortunes,” he added.
Eurostat said production fell across all categories; energy, capital goods, intermediate goods, and durable and non-durable consumer goods.
It is the latest in a series of disappointing data releases concerning the 19-country bloc, after its economy grew by just 0.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2018 and economic sentiment fell in all twelve months last year.
"The euro zone has clearly shifted down a gear," said Andrew Kenningham, an economist at research firm Capital Economics.
He said the bloc could still eke out a small increase in its gross domestic product in the last quarter, but the new output figures sent a negative signal.
Industrial production across EU’s 28 member states also fell 1.3 per cent month-on-month.