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Eurozone industrial output slips back in March: Eurostat

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(BRUSSELS) - Eurozone industrial output fell in March, official data showed on Wednesday, consistent with recent data showing the economic recovery to be patchy so far.

Industrial output in the 18-nation eurozone dropped 0.3 percent in March compared with the figure for February when it gained 0.2 percent, the Eurostat statistics agency said.

Compared with March 2013, eurozone industrial output was down 0.1 percent, after posting a year-on-year gain of 1.7 percent in February.

In the full 28-member European Union, March industrial output was down 0.2 percent compared with February but was up 0.5 percent on a year-on-year basis.

Analysts said the figures showed the economy continues to struggle for traction after exiting a record recession in second quarter 2013.

Since then, the economy has continued to gain ground only slowly, making Thursday's first quarter growth report of even more importance for the recovery and possible additional stimulus measures by the European Central Bank to stimulate growth.

The output figures "confirmed that industry has made a weak start to 2014, underscoring the fragility of the recovery both in the sector and in the eurozone economy as a whole," Capital Economics said.

The report suggests industry has slowed compared with fourth quarter 2013, which does not bode well for the first quarter when the economy likely grew 0.3 percent, unchanged.

As such, the report indicated "that the region's recovery failed to gain momentum" in the period.

For Howard Archer at IHS Global Insight, "the dip in industrial production in March highlights the fact that the eurozone is still finding it hard to generate decent growth momentum."

As such it "will likely reinforce belief that the ECB will deliver stimulative action in June, likely including a trimming of interest rates," Archer said.

Industrial production down by 0.3% in euro area [Eurostat]

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