BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone industrial production unexpectedly declined in September, driven chiefly by a sharp fall in the output of durable consumer goods, sounding a negative note to a quarter that had begun strongly.
The European Union’s statistics office Eurostat said on Thursday that industrial production in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell 0.4% month-on-month in September for a 6.8% year-on-year decline.
That compared with the average expectations in a Reuters poll of economists of respectively a 0.7% increase and a drop of 5.8%.
It also marked the fourth consecutive month of declining production growth from 12.5% in May to 5.3% in July, 0.6% in August and now a slip in September.
Output of durable consumer goods, such as televisions and washing machines, has been the strongest component of the previous months’ growth, but fell back 5.3% in September. Energy production was also down, by 1.0% in the month.
All other components rose, notably of non-durable consumer goods, such as clothes, by 2.1%.
The steepest monthly declines were in Italy, Ireland and Portugal at respectively 5.6%, 4.7% and 3.8%. Many countries, such as the euro zone’s largest economies Germany and France, recorded increases.
Year-on-year, the only euro zone country with higher production was Portugal. The sharpest fall, of 13.6%, was in Ireland, followed by Germany, the Netherlands and France, with declines of greater than 6%.
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