EU industrial output slips in May after rise: Official data

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Industrial output in the 17-nation eurozone fell 0.3 per cent in May following three consecutive months on the rise, the Eurostat data agency said on Friday.

In April industrial output rose 0.5 per cent, the agency said in a revised figure, against the level in March when it gained a sharp 0.9 per cent.

The April and March figures were a huge improvement on performance in previous months and analysts said the latest report suggested the 18-month eurozone recession could be near its end.

The May drop against the previous month was mainly due to a 2.3-per cent fall in durable consumer goods. Investment goods decreased 1.5 per cent.

On the positive side, energy output rose 0.1 per cent, intermediary goods rose 0.4 per cent and non durable consumer goods rose 0.6 per cent.

The fall in industrial output was highest in Ireland, which saw a decrease of 2.7 per cent, and in Greece with less than 2.1 per cent.

Output rose 6.1 per cent on the other hand in Portugal and 2.0 per cent in Estonia.

Across the 27-nation European Union industrial output fell 0.6 per cent in May in comparison to April.

In comparison with data a year earlier, industrial output fell 1.3 per cent in the eurozone and 1.6 per cent in the EU.