Euro-Area Industrial Output Drops Most in More Than 3 Years

Euro-area industrial production dropped the most in more than three years in September, led by double-digit declines in Portugal and Ireland.

Output in the 17-nation euro area fell 2.5 percent from August, when it increased 0.9 percent, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. Economists had projected a drop of 2 percent, according to the median of 35 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. From a year earlier, September output slumped 2.3 percent.

European companies are struggling to maintain sales and earnings as the euro-area economy weakens under pressure from the fiscal crisis and faltering global growth. The EU last week cut its 2013 growth forecast for the euro-area economy to just 0.1 percent, down from a May projection of 1 percent.

“The latest growth indicators around the world, as well as the high levels of unemployment in the EU, raise concerns about our economic prospects,” EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said today in the text of a speech in Brussels. “The indicators point to further short-term weakness.”

The euro, which has declined more than 6 percent against the dollar in the past year, traded at $1.2756 at 11:06 a.m. in Brussels, up 0.4 percent on the day.

Unemployment Rate

The euro-area unemployment rate is at a record 11.6 percent and at least five nations in the bloc are in a recession. Services and manufacturing output in the area contracted for a ninth month in October, data show.

Euro-area gross domestic product probably shrank 0.1 percent in the third quarter after a 0.2 percent decline in the previous three months, according to a Bloomberg News survey of economists. The statistics agency will release the GDP report tomorrow.

Industrial output dropped 12.6 percent in Ireland and 12 percent in Portugal in September from the prior month, today’s data showed. In Germany, Europe’s largest economy, industrial production fell 2.1 percent, while France showed a 2.7 percent decrease.

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