Factories in the 15 nations sharing the euro saw demand rebound in January much more strongly than economists had expected, official EU data showed March 26. Overall new industrial orders in the eurozone surged by 2% in January from the December level and jumped 7.3% over the same month in 2007, the European Union's Eurostat data agency said.
January's strength was driven by a 6.2% jump over one month in volatile orders for transport equipment although machinery and other equipment also saw strong demand, up 2.4%.
The result far exceeded economists' forecast for orders to dip 0.5% over one month and rise 4.5% from January 2007 as polled by Thomson Financial.
It also marked a rebound from a soft spot in December when orders dropped 3.6% over one month and increased 2.2% over one year.
There has been widespread worry among politicans in Europe about the effect of the strong euro, which has risen against the dollar and other currencies, on the competitiveness of European companies.
Meanwhile in the 27-nation EU new industrial orders eased 1% in January and rose 6.7% over one year. Cyprus and Malta adopted the euro currency in January swelling the ranks of the eurozone to 15 nations.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008