April 10 (Reuters) Italian industrial output was weaker than expected in February, falling 0.8 percent after a surprise jump the month before, data showed on Wednesday.
The median forecast of a Reuters' poll of 19 analysts had projected a reading of -0.5 percent in February. Forecasts spanned from -1.5 percent to +0.1 percent.
National statistics institute ISTAT marginally revised January's reading to a 1.0 percent monthly increase, from an originally reported +0.8 percent.
On a work-day adjusted year-on-year basis, output in February was down 3.8 percent, the 18th consecutive annual decline, following a revised -3.4 percent (from -3.6 percent previously) in January.
The euro zone's third-largest economy has shrunk for six consecutive quarters, its longest recession in two decades, and expectations for it to recover later this year are dwindling as monthly economic surveys remain weak.
Italian manufacturing activity fell more than expected in March, shrinking for the 20th straight month and at the fastest rate since August of last year, the Markit/ADACI Purchasing Managers Index showed earlier this month.
The political deadlock that has followed February's inconclusive national election has further undermined already weak consumer morale and may push back the prospect of a rebound in household spending.
ISTAT gave the following details.
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION FEB JAN DEC
Mth/mth pct change (adjusted) -0.8 1.0r -0.2
Yr/yr pct change (adjusted) -3.8 -3.4r -7.5r
Yr/yr pct change (unadjusted) -7.6 -0.2r -10.3
NOTE: BASE 2010=100.
(r) indicates revised figures.
ISTAT provided the following breakdown by broad product group:
adjusted mth/mth pct change
Consumer goods -1.0
Investment goods -2.3
Intermediate goods 0.2
Energy goods 0.3
(Steve Scherer, Rome newsroom +39 06 8522 4350, fax +39 06 854 0568 email@example.com)
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