Eurozone industrial output fell more than expected in July from a month earlier, adding to worries about third-quarter GDP growth prospects.
Seasonally adjusted data from Eurostat showed output in the single-currency area fell by 1.1%, more than the 0.9% consensus decline analysts had expected and compared with the 0.7% downturn forecast by Credit Suisse.
Production declined after 0.8% growth (revised up from 0.6%) the month earlier. On the year, output declined by 0.5%, less than the 0.7% shrinkage expected, after 0.7% year-on-year growth in June.
Eurozone output fell across four out of five segments in July from June. Capital goods production fell by 1.7% and energy output declined by 1.4%. Durable consumer goods production fell by 0.7%, intermediate goods were down by 0.5%. But non-durable consumer goods output was unchanged.
The Eurostat data followed individual country bulletins and a run of disappointing figures from German. Eurozone second -quarter GDP growth slowed to 0.3% from 0.5% and most analysts expect the European Central Bank to take further action to bolster economic expansion and the region's barely-there inflation rate.
"With industry still struggling, pressure will remain on policymakers to act. While the ECB stood pat last week, we expect it to extend its asset purchase programme before the end of the year," said Capital Economics European economist Stephen Brown.
He noted, however, that early factory shutdowns this year among German carmakers may have played a part in the sharp decline.
In the July industrial production report, Ireland fared among the strongest of the eurozone countries, with output up 3.7% on the month and 5% on the year. Beleaguered Greece posted a smaller monthly decline than eurozone agenda-setter Germany, of 1% month-on-month. Greek output fell 4.1% on the year.
In the 28-nation EU, industrial output fell 1% in July from June and was down 0.1% on a year earlier, Eurostat said.
European stocks were up on Wednesday, with the Dax recently up 0.43% at 10,432.38.
The yield on the 10-year German government bond was down 3 basis points at 0.04% and the euro was recently up 0.04% against the dollar at $1.1225.