Italy's Industrial Output Falls, Signaling Risks To Recovery

  • Production declines after rising for three straight months
  • Unemployment unexpectedly rose to 11.9% in fourth quarter

Italian industrial output decreased for the first month in four, raising questions about the durability of the country’s economic recovery.

Production fell 2.3 percent in January from December, when it rose 1.4 percent on a monthly basis, Rome-based statistics agency Istat said Monday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 18 analysts called for a 0.8 percent drop. On an annual, work-day adjusted basis, industrial output was down 0.5 percent in January.

Manufacturing sentiment unexpectedly rose in February, as executives grew optimistic about the outlook for the euro region’s third-biggest economy. Consumer confidence fell in the same month amid signs that the pace of the recovery remains too weak to boost domestic demand and reduce the unemployment rate, which was 11.9 percent in January.

The Italian economy expanded 0.2 percent on a quarterly basis in the final three months of 2016.

Energy production rose 3.1 percent on a monthly basis in January, while consumer goods decreased 1.6 percent, Istat said.

— With assistance by Chiara Vasarri, and Andre Tartar

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