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Euro zone industry output nudges up against expectations

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By Reuters
Euro zone industry output nudges up against expectations
FILE PHOTO: A steel-worker is pictured at a furnace at the plant of German steel company Salzgitter AG in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony on March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer   -   Copyright  Fabian Bimmer(Reuters)

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone industrial production rose in September for a second straight month to beat expectations, official estimates showed on Wednesday, as output drops in Germany and Italy were offset by increases in France and the Netherlands.

The European Union’s statistics office Eurostat said factory output in the 19-country euro zone rose 0.1% in September on the month, after a 0.4% rise in August, and compared with the average market forecast of a 0.3% fall.

The unexpected increase offset the 0.5% output drop recorded in July, closing the third quarter on a positive note after a weak start.

The reading was broadly in line with preliminary estimates of euro zone’s growth in the third quarter at 0.2% of gross domestic product (GDP), which was slightly above expectations. An updated GDP reading for the quarter will be released on Thursday by Eurostat.

In September production of non-durable consumer goods, such as foodstuffs, rose by 1.0% , but the output of more expensive, durable items, such as cars or fridges, went down by 0.7%.

Squeezed by global trade wars, output of Germany’s export-driven manufacturing sector fell for the fourth time in six months in September. The 1.0% drop more than offset the 0.7% gain in August.

Italy, another leading manufacturer, also recorded a 0.4% drop in industry production, but the bloc overall figure was kept in positive territory by the expanding output in France, where it grew by 0.3%, and in the Netherlands, which posted a 1.2% rise.

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)