ROME, (Reuters) - Italian industrial output declined by 1.2% month-on-month in February, data showed on Thursday, a smaller drop than expected after a jump the month before.
A Reuters survey of 18 analysts had pointed to a 1.7% fall following January's 3.6% monthly increase, which was revised down marginally from an originally reported 3.7%.
The data refers to a period before the lockdown imposed by the government to contain a severe COVID-19 outbreak, shuttering all firms except those deemed essential to the supply chain.
In the December-to-February period, output in the euro zone's third largest economy was down 0.8% compared with the previous three months, national statistics bureau ISTAT reported.
In February, factory production was down from the previous month for consumer goods and intermediate goods, while investment goods stagnated and energy products rose.
On a work-day adjusted year-on-year basis, overall output was down 2.4%, following a 0.2% decline in January.
Italian gross domestic product fell 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2019 from the previous three months, before the coronavirus hit.
Economists expect a severe recession this year. Employers' lobby Confindustria has forecast a full-year GDP drop of 6%, while investment bank Goldman Sachs has projected a contraction of 11.6%.
ISTAT gave the following details.
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION FEB JAN DEC
Mth/mth pct change (adjusted) -1.2 3.6r -2.7r
Yr/yr pct change (adjusted) -2.4 -0.2r -4.1r
Yr/yr pct change (unadjusted) -1.8 -3.3r -1.1r
NOTE: BASE 2015=100.
(r) indicates revised figures.
ISTAT provided the following breakdown by broad product group in February: adjusted month-on-month percent change
Consumer goods -0.9
Investment goods 0.0
Intermediate goods -1.1
Energy goods 2.7
(Gavin Jones, Rome newsroom +39 06 8522 4350, fax +39 06 854 0568 firstname.lastname@example.org)