|Eurozone industrial output rose by more than expected in February, but analysts warned that it was not enough to spearhead an economic recovery in the crisis-hit region.
The 0.4pc rise in the 17-nation currency bloc from January was above the expected 0.2pc increase forecast by economists, figures from the EU’s statistics office Eurostat showed.
But the pick-up only partially offset the previous month’s downwardly revised fall of 0.6pc.
Netherlands and Slovenia saw the highest increases with 3.4pc, while Estonia and Malta had a 3.9pc drop in industrial production in February. The UK managed an above-average 1pc rise in industrial production and France and Europe’s biggest economy Germany were also on the up with figures of 0.8pc and 0.9pc.
Energy production spurred on the boost as the sector grew by 2.6pc in the Eurozone and 1.8pc in the EU as a whole from January after having fell during most of the last six months. Production of machinery, tools and other capital goods also rose by 0.9pc in the currency bloc and by 1.6pc across the EU.
But analysts said that this slight rise in output was not be enough to stimulate an economic recovery on the troubled Continent.
Ben May, European economist at Capital Economics, said: “There aren’t any particular signs that the sector is on the path of sustained recovery and the rise of the production only partially offsets the previous month’s downward revised forecast.
“This suggests that the outlook for the industrial sector is rosy and doesn’t seem to be in a position to spear an economic recovery in the region as a whole.”
The latest figures also show that industrial production is worse off than the same time last year, dropping by 3.1pc in the Eurozone and 2.5pc across the EU.
Production of energy in the Eurozone took the biggest hit of 6.1pc, followed by manufacturing of consumer goods like cars, refrigerators, and mobile phones which saw a drop of 4.8pc compared with February 2012.
Spain’s suffered a 6.5pc fall in production, one of the worst in the Eurozone, followed by a 3.0pc drop in Greece. This comes after the European Commission hammered Spain on Wednesday for having “excessive” imbalances in their debt, unemployment and growth, which are doing long-term damage to the economy.
Even the economic powerhouse Germany saw a 2.5pc decrease in economic production compared with the same time last year, while Britain’s figure stood at 0.6pc