Italy industry output rises for second month running in January

Manufacturing and broader industrial sector is holding up relatively well despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis

  
A woman works at MTA factory in Codogno, one year after the small northern town became Europe's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epicentre, in Codogno, Italy, February 10, 2021.

A woman works at MTA factory in Codogno, one year after the small northern town became Europe's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epicentre, in Codogno, Italy, February 10, 2021.

Reuters/Flavio Lo Scalzo

ROME - Italian industrial output was stronger than expected in January, rising 1.0% from the month before after an upwardly revised 0.2% increase in December, data showed on Tuesday.

A Reuters survey of 17 analysts had pointed to a 0.7% monthly rise in January.

The data suggests the manufacturing and broader industrial sector is holding up relatively well despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis, as the government keeps factories open while curbing many service sector activities.

National statistics bureau ISTAT significantly revised up December's data from a previously reported 0.2% fall.

On a work-day adjusted year-on-year basis, output was down 2.4% in January, a 23rd straight decline, following a 1.6% drop in December which was revised up from an originally reported -2.0%.

In the three months to January, industrial output in the euro zone's third largest economy was down 1.7% compared with the August-to-October period.

January saw month-on-month rises for output of consumer goods, investment goods and intermediate goods, partially offset by a decline in output of energy products, ISTAT said.

The Italian economy, hobbled by the coronavirus, contracted by 8.9% last year, the steepest fall since World War Two. 

Rome's official forecast envisages a rebound of 6% this year, but most analysts expect a less robust recovery.

ISTAT in December forecast that gross domestic product would rise in 2021 by 4%.

ISTAT gave the following details.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION JAN DEC NOV Mth/mth pct change (adjusted) 1.0 0.2r -1.4 Yr/yr pct change (adjusted) -2.4 -1.6r -4.1r Yr/yr pct change (unadjusted) -8.1 1.5r -1.2 NOTE: BASE 2015=100. (r) indicates revised figures.

ISTAT provided the following breakdown by broad product group in January: adjusted month-on-month percent change.

Consumer goods 1.2 Investment goods 1.4 Intermediate goods 0.4 Energy goods -0.8

((Gavin Jones, Rome newsroom +39 06 8522 4350, fax +39 06 854 0568 rome.newsroom@news.reuters.com))

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