Euro zone industrial production dipped slightly in February, the month before coronavirus restrictions were widely introduced in Europe, due to reverses in capital and consumer durable goods after a sharp overall rise in January.
Output fell by 0.1% month-on-month in the 19 countries sharing the euro following a 2.3% increase in January. The decline was slightly less than the 0.2% drop forecast in a Reuters poll.
Year-on-year, industrial production was down 1.9%, from a 1.7% fall in January, less than the market expectation of a 2.0% drop.
Among EU’s largest economies, production in Germany and France was higher in February than in January, although the rate of increase slowed.
In Italy, the first European country hit by the COVID-19 crisis in late February, output fell by 1.2%.
Overall, factories increased production of intermediate goods and non-durable consumer goods, such as clothing, for a second straight month, albeit at a slower rate than in January.
However, output of capital goods, such as tools and machinery, was lower by 1.5% and durable consumer goods by 2.0% than in January, when both categories rose sharply.