September 12, 2013 - 17:57 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Any hopes that the troubled eurozone economy was poised for a solid rebound from recession were under threat of being dashed by latest figures showing the industrial sector sliding into reverse during July, Belfast Telegraph said.
Eurostat reported that industrial output, which includes everything from the making of high-end Mercedes cars to oil and gas extraction, slumped 1.5% in July from the previous month. The decline, which followed a 0.6% advance in June, was much bigger than expected - the consensus of analysts' forecasts was for a far more modest decline of around 0.3%.
The fall, which was fuelled by a 2.3% drop monthly decline in Europe's heavyweight economy, Germany, is also likely to stoke fears over the state of the eurozone economy following its modest rebound from recession in the second quarter. The monthly fall took the annual rate of decline down to 2.1% from the 0.4% recorded in June.
Figures last month confirmed that economic growth across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro grew by 0.3% in the second quarter following a six-quarter recession, the longest it has experienced since the single currency was launched in 1999. Though the key hurdle facing Europe's manufacturers - the region's debt crisis - has abated over the past year following the European Central Bank's offer to buy up unlimited amounts of government bonds, manufacturers still face a tough time from spending cuts in countries such as Greece and Spain, tight credit conditions and high unemployment.
Meanwhile, according to The Associated Press, unemployment continues to rise in recession-hit Greece, with the overall rate reaching 27.9 percent in June. Even worse, 58.8 percent of people under age 25 are out of work. The number of jobless in Europe fell slightly in July and business optimism rose, according to official data, adding to the tentative signs that the region's economy is staging a modest comeback. Europe's statistics office said the number of unemployed in the eurozone was down by 15,000 to 19.23 million, marking the second consecutive fall since April 2011. The jobless rate remained at a record of high of 12.1 percent.