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Italian and UK industrial output fall

Italian and UK industrial output fall
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Italy’s industrial output was much weaker than expected in January – down 2.5 percent from December.

On an annual basis — adjusted to account for different numbers of work days — it fell five percent.

The decline was led by a decrease in investment goods and consumer goods, national statistics office Istat said.

UK industrial production also suffered a shock fall in January with oil and gas output experiencing the worst decline.

But British factory output was also weaker than predicted.

Industrial output in the UK shrank by 0.4 percent in January, wiping out December’s gains and confounding economists’ forecasts for a 0.3 percent rise.

The data from Britain’s Office for National Statistics will put extra pressure on finance minister George Osborne to find measures to boost the economy as he prepares to unveil his 2012 budget on March 21, and may boost the chances that the Bank of England will extend its asset purchase programme in May.