BRUSSELS -- Weaker-than-expected September eurozone industrial output, a key measure of manufacturing activity, points to a slowdown in what is already a weak recovery, official data and analysts said Wednesday.
Industrial output in the 17-nation eurozone fell 0.5% from August when it rose 1%, worse than analyst estimates for a drop of around 0.3%.
The eurozone snapped a record 18-month recession in the three months to June with growth of 0.3% and it had been expected initially to maintain that pace when the figures come out on Thursday.
However, recent data has trended lower, suggesting that the recovery is losing momentum to the point some analysts expect third quarter growth of just 0.1%.
The industrial production report "indicates that the sector will have dragged on growth in the third quarter," Capital Economics said. The group, which put the consensus estimate at a fall of 0.3%, noted that the September "drop was broad-based, with every component falling apart from energy."
Significantly, "the core economies slumped," with Germany down 0.8% after a rise of 1.8% in August as France shed 0.4% after a gain of 0.7%.
Gains in weaker periphery countries such as Spain and Italy were positive but not enough to outweigh the bad news.
In the wider 28-member European Union, September industrial output was down 0.2% from August, when it rose 0.6%, the Eurostat statistics service said.
Of the non-euro countries, Britain posted a gain of 0.9%, nearly reversing an August fall of 1.1%.
Compared with September 2012, eurozone industrial output was up 1.1% and the EU gained 1.2%.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013