Euro Area Industrial Production Trouble
Industrial production, a key measure of economic health, is still poor in the 17 euro area nations. Eurostat reports that seasonally adjusted industrial production grew by 0.5% in February compared to January. However, year-over-year, industrial production dropped by 1.8% in both the euro area and the EU27. Across the region:
Among the Member States for which data are available, industrial production rose in seven and fell in fifteen. The highest increases were registered in Slovakia (+8.4%), Latvia (+7.3%) and the Netherlands (+6.7%), and the largest decreases in Luxembourg (-14.4%), Malta (-11.4%) and Greece (-8.5%).
The data will confirm the belief among economists that a large part of the region is either in recession or about to be. It will also raise the question again about whether austerity or stimulus is the better path to deficit reduction.