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Euro-area industrial output unexpectedly drops for second month

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Industrial production in the euro area ended the first quarter with a second monthly drop, weakened by falling output in consumer goods and capital goods.

[LUXEMBOURG] Industrial production in the euro area ended the first quarter with a second monthly drop, weakened by falling output in consumer goods and capital goods.

Output declined 0.8 per cent in March from February, the Eurostat statistics office in Luxembourg said on Thursday. The reading follows disappointing data this week from Germany, France and Italy, the region's three biggest economies. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for the figure to be unchanged. From a year earlier, production rose 0.2 per cent.

The monthly drop halts a strong start to 2016 after production in January jumped the most in more than 12 years, and suggests that the euro area lost momentum toward the end of the quarter. Eurostat will release its second reading of gross domestic product for the period on Friday, after an initial estimate put expansion at 0.6 per cent, its fastest in a year.

Production in non-durable consumer goods fell a monthly 1.9 per cent in March, while capital goods declined 1.1 per cent. Germany, France and Italy all posted industrial output figures on Tuesday that trailed economist estimates.

BLOOMBERG