Euro-Area Industrial Output Unexpectedly Increased in February

European industrial production unexpectedly rose in February, led by France and the Netherlands, adding to signs of economic stabilization after a fourth-quarter contraction.

Production in the 17-nation euro area increased 0.5 percent from January, when it remained unchanged, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. Economists had forecast a drop of 0.2 percent, the median of 23 estimates in a Bloomberg News (EUITEMUM) survey showed. From a year earlier, production decreased 1.8 percent.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on April 4 noted a “low-level” economic stabilization in the euro area and said the region’s economy should “recover gradually” this year. The European Commission forecasts a 0.3 percent contraction in 2012.

A 0.2 percent drop in industrial output in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, was offset by a 0.2 percent increase in France and a 13 percent jump in the Netherlands, according to today’s report. Spanish production fell 0.5 percent. No data were available for Italy.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Henry in Brussels at phenry8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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