MILAN- Italian industrial output rose more strongly than expected in June as factories built on the exceptional surge seen in May when production resumed after coronavirus lockdown measures were eased, data showed on Thursday.
Statistics agency ISTAT reported an 8.2% rise in industrial production in June from the month before, compared with a median forecast of a 5.1% rise in a Reuters survey of 19 analysts.
The rise followed a revised 41.6% jump in May, as the coronavirus lockdown was first lifted, and a drop of 20.5% in April, when most factories were shut down.
On a workday adjusted year-on-year basis, ISTAT said output was still down 13.7% in June, following a revised 20.5% fall in May and a 43.4% drop in April.
The agency said the industrial output data showed a broad-based rise across all sectors, with consumer goods production rising 9.8%, investment goods up 8.1% and intermediate goods up 9.0%, with only energy showing a weaker 2.1% rise.
Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said the figures, which followed data last week showing a less severe drop in overall economic output during the second quarter than economists had feared, pointed to a strong rebound in the third quarter.
"Italy is on the right track. We are supporting workers and companies to overcome the crisis," he wrote on Twitter.
Like other countries, Italy, the eurozone's third-largest economy, has suffered an unprecedented shock from the coronavirus crisis which came on top of two decades of stagnation.
Since the lockdown easing began, it has been relatively successful in limiting the spread of the disease and recent survey data has pointed to a pickup in activity as companies have responded to pent up demand.
However ISTAT noted that despite the rebound since April, production was still well down on pre-crisis levels, with seasonally adjusted output 13 percentage points below its January level.
Last week, ISTAT reported gross domestic product down 12.4% in the second quarter. However many economists had been expecting even worse.
(Reporting by James Mackenzie Editing by Sara Rossi and David Holmes) ((email@example.com; +39 02 66129533 ; Reuters Messaging: Reuters Messaging firstname.lastname@example.org))