Industrial output across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro fell in November for the third straight month, official figures showed today, in a further sign that the region likely remained mired in recession for the fourth quarter of 2012. The 0.3% monthly decline reported by Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, was worse than expected. The consensus in the markets was that output would increase a modest 0.1% during the month.
Even though the rate of decline eased following the 2.3% and 1% drops reported in September and October, respectively, the figures are likely to cement market expectations that the recession in the eurozone has deepened. Year-on-year, industrial production in the eurozone was down by 3.7%. Industrial output is particularly important in the eurozone, not least in Germany, Europe's largest economy, where output rose by a monthly rate of 0.1%. Though the increase in Germany was a turnaround from big falls in the previous two months, it's clear that the country's high-value exporters, such as its major car manufacturers, are struggling in a tough European marketplace. (Read more eurozone stories.)