EU's industrial output enjoys fastest monthly rise in 20 years
EUROPEAN industrial output enjoyed the fastest monthly rise in 20 years in January as eurozone manufacturers benefited from booming Asian economies.
Output in the economy of the 16 nations using the euro jumped 1.7pc from December, the biggest increase since the euro-area data were first compiled in 1990, the European Union's statistics office in Luxembourg said.
The increase was more than double the 0.7pc gain projected by economists, in a Bloomberg survey. Output was 1.4pc higher than January last year -- the first annual increase since April 2008.
The December production data was also revised upwards to show an increase of 0.6pc in overall output, compared with a 1.7pc drop estimated earlier.
Higher energy production to beat the cold weather helped, but there was strong growth in production of steel and machinery.
Analysts say the euro region's recovery is gaining strength after growth came to a near-halt in the fourth quarter.
"The first quarter looks like being a strong one for the manufacturing sector," said Ken Wattret, chief euro-area economist at BNP Paribas in London.
"The external demand- driven, manufacturing-sensitive data have been doing comparatively well, while the consumer-sensitive data has been very disappointing. This is unlikely to change any time soon given weakness in the labour market."
China's imports climbed a record 85.5pc in January from a year earlier, while in India, imports surged 35.5pc.
The data seems at odds with figures earlier this week that German exports slumped 6.3pc in January, and more revisions are possible. (Bloomberg)