The pace of decline increased in Spain as the country's industrial output deteriorated further in April. The newest industrial output figures fuel worries about a country battered by a debt and banking crisis.
The output of factories, mines and utilities in Spain decreased by 8.3 percent in April, marking the eighth consecutive month of declining year-on-year industrial output, the country's National Statistics Institute announced Wednesday.
Spain's industrial deterioration appears to be accelerating as April's decline was steeper than the 7.5 percent drop recorded in March and the 5.3 percent slump in February.
Output of durable consumer goods such as cars, television sets and washing machines plummeted by 16.7 percent, the figures showed, while other consumer goods fell by 6.7 percent.
In addition, production of industrial and other equipment slumped by 14.9 percent, indicating that future output of Spain's industry is likely to continue sliding.
Clouded business environment
Spain's industrial figures cast new doubt over a more positive forecast for economic development put out by the country's central bank recently. It predicted the recession to last until the middle of this year.
Meanwhile, the latest figures on eurozone growth, released by the European Statistical Office on Wednesday, also showed that countries in Europe's southern periphery may endure recessions throughout 2012.
Growth figures for the first quarter show that Spain's economy shrank by 0.3 percent, while Portugal contracted 0.1 percent, and Italy recording the most dramatic drop in GDP with minus 0.8 percent.
Spain's industrial output and growth figures are likely to compound Madrid's woes about its ailing banking sector and may force Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to seek financial assistance from the EU rescue fund.
Rajoy is rejecting an EU-funded bailout, arguing that Spain can master the crisis alone after his government has introduced sweeping austerity measures.
uhe/sms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)