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Italy industry output slips in March but year-on-year rate surges on 2020 lockdown

·1-min read
A worker welds in a factory in Gravellona Lomellina

ROME, May 11 (Reuters) - Italian industrial output was weaker than expected in March, slipping 0.1% from the month before after a 0.1% rise in February, data showed on Tuesday.

A Reuters survey of 17 analysts had pointed to a 0.4% monthly gain in March.

February's data was revised down marginally from a previously reported 0.2%.

On a work-day adjusted year-on-year basis, output jumped 37.7% in March, the first annual rise after 24 straight declines.

The year-on-year jump was due to the fact that in March last year most Italian factories were closed due to the country's first, and most severe, coronavirus lockdown.

February's reading was revised to -0.8% year-on-year from a previously reported -0.6%.

In the first quarter, industrial output in the euro zone's third largest economy was up 0.9% compared with the last three months of 2020. That followed a 0.4% decline in the last quarter of 2020.

March saw a month-on-month fall in output of consumer goods, ISTAT said, which outweighed increases for investment goods, intermediate goods and energy products.

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

The first quarter of this year saw a 0.4% quarter-on-quarter decline in gross domestic product.

Over the whole of 2021, Mario Draghi's government forecasts a GDP rebound of 4.5% thanks to a recovery over the second half of the year and a positive base effect due to last year's deep recession.

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