Berlin - Industrial production in the eurozone contracted more than forecast in January.
The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said output in the 17-member currency fell month on month by 0.4 per cent after growing by 0.9 per cent in December. The January drop represented the fourth fall in five months.
Analysts had expected industrial production would shrink by 0.1 per cent in January.
Industrial production slumped by 1.3 per cent when compared with January in 2011.
The European Central Bank expects the eurozone economy to contract by 0.5 per cent this year after it lurched into recession in the third quarter last year.
“January's fall in eurozone industrial production is a timely reminder that, despite the improvement in business and financial market sentiment, the region may have remained in recession in the first quarter,” said Ben May, European economist with the research group Capital Economics.
Output in the 27-member EU also slumped by 0.4 per cent in January after expanding by 0.8 per cent in December.
Year on year, industrial production in the EU was down 1.7 per cent in January. - Sapa-dpa