New industrial orders in the euro zone unexpectedly rose in December.
They were up by 0.8 per cent from November and the EU’s statistics office said they were 9.5 percent higher than a year before.
But the figures were distorted by the French government’s car-scrappage scheme designed to encourage new vehicle purchases.
French industrial orders were up 17.1 percent month-on-month and 20.4 percent year-on-year.
That scheme has now expired and economists said it was difficult to know what to expect for the start of this year.
Industrial new orders are an important indicator of economic activity as they translate into factory production over the coming months.