Industrial output in three of the eurozone's biggest economies surged in August, providing evidence of a rebound from June's shock vote in Britain to leave the European Union.
Industrial production in Europe's biggest economy, Germany, shot up 2.5 percent in August, rebounding from a strong slump of 1.5 percent in July, according to data from the German statistics office Destatis released on Friday.
In France, factories jumped 2.1 percent in the same month after sliding 0.5 percent in July. Spain also reported a significant rise of 1.4 percent.
ING Diba chief economist Carsten Brzeski said the increases suggested that the initial shock following Britain's vote to leave the EU had been digested. "The outlook for the third quarter all of a sudden looks much brighter," he told the news agency AFP.
Stephen Brown, economist at Capital Economics, said he believed that industry might now contribute positively to eurozone GDP growth in the third quarter. He called the strong numbers from France and Spain a surprise, noting that the consensus forecast had been for a 0.7 percent gain in France and a 0.1 percent dip in Spain.
Meanwhile, the output of Britain's industry unexpectedly dropped 0.4 percent in August, after it had edged up 0.1 percent in the previous month. Britain's finance minister Philip Hammond warned earlier this week of "some turbulence" as the country would go through negotiations about the terms and conditions of Brexit. And comments by Prime Minister Theresa May this week suggesting a toughening of positions towards a "hard" Brexit, with Britain losing EU market access, sent the British pound to a new 31-year low.
A bright spot for British industry, however, was provided by the manufacturing sector which increased by 0.2 percent. But this couldn't offset the drop in the energy sector which has been suffering from low global crude prices.
uhe/jd (Reuters, AFP)