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Euro zone industrial output tumbles more than expected in December

Euro zone manufacturing output plunged more than expected in December ending a weak quarter for the single currency area, official estimates showed today. 

Industrial production fell 2.1% month-on-month in the euro zone, the EU statistics agency Eurostat said, in a slump that was worse than the 1.6% fall predicted by economists polled by Reuters. 

Year-on-year, output fell 4.1% – much more than market forecasts of a 2.3% drop. 

The negative monthly reading followed a 0.9% drop in October and a stalled production in November, which was revised down from the previously estimated 0.2% rise, as euro zone manufacturers were battered by global trade tensions. 

Production in December fell significantly in all major economies in the bloc, pointing to a possible downward revision of gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the last quarter. 

At the end of January, before the output data was known, Eurostat estimated the euro zone grew 0.1% in the last quarter. 

The December fall was driven by a 4.0% drop in the output of capital goods, which implies lower investment appetite among industry managers. 

Despite the bad end of the year, businesses were upbeat in January according to sentiment indicators released in past days, in a sign that abating trade tensions between the US and China may boost morale. 

The effects of the coronavirus outbreak remain, however, unclear.

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