BRUSSELS -- Industrial output in the 17-nation eurozone rose 0.4% in February compared with January, when it fell 0.6%, official data showed Friday.
Despite the monthly gain, eurozone industrial production was down 3.1% compared with February 2012, the Eurostat statistics service said.
For the 27-member European Union, output in February also rose 0.4% from January when it dropped 0.5%, but it was down 2.5% from a year earlier.
The latest figures continue a very mixed series which had appeared, like other recent data, to show the battered European economy touching bottom towards the end of last year.
Analysts said the report would support that view but do very little to lift the gloom on the outlook.
February's rise should mean the eurozone at least marks time in the first quarter "but there is still no sign that the sector is about to spearhead an economic recovery," said Ben May of Capital Economics.
"The prospects for the industrial sector are not especially encouraging," May said, adding that along with other business surveys, there is "little here to suggest that a sustained economic revival is on the cards."
Eurostat said the biggest monthly falls in industrial output for February were in Estonia and Malta, each down 3.9%, and Lithuania, off 3.7%.
The largest monthly gains were in the Netherlands and Slovenia, both up 3.4 percent, followed by the Czech Republic on 1.6 percent.
Compared with February 2012, industrial output tumbled 7.5% in Finland, with Spain down 6.5%, Greece off 3.9% and Italy 3.8% lower.
The biggest annual gains were 6.5% in Romania, with Bulgaria up 5.1% and Slovenia up 3.3%.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013