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Eurozone industrial production falls more than expected in April

Eurozone industrial production fell more than expected in April, adding to doubts about the strength of the currency area's recovery even as the European Central Bank is due to begin considering the end of its quantitative easing program.

Industrial production slipped by 0.9% month over month in April, following an upwardly revised increase of 0.6% in March Eurostat data showed. Econoday had predicted a 0.7% monthly decline.

"April's fall in [eurozone] industrial production adds to the evidence that the economy has not rebounded strongly since Q1's slowdown," said Jack Allen, European economist at Capital Economics.

The ECB is due to start discussing winding down its €2.55 trillion asset purchase program at its meeting in Riga on June 14, despite a string of weak economic data points. Its chief economist, Peter Praet, said June 6 that the bank would concentrate on the inflation outlook when it considered ending the program, and that the rate of price increases looked set to be moving toward the target level of just below 2%. The euro rose 0.15% to $1.1763 at 5:54 a.m. ET.

Eurozone energy production was down by 5.0%, which was broadly expected after unusually high energy output in February and March due to the cold weather, Allen said.

Output in durable consumer goods fell by 2.2%, nondurable consumer goods by 1.2% and intermediate goods by 0.8%. Production of capital goods was up by 1.9%.

On an annual basis, industrial production grew 1.7% in April.

Meanwhile, eurozone employment rose by 0.4% in the first quarter of 2018 compared with the prior quarter, when employment was up 0.3%, separate data from Eurostat showed.

Compared with the same period in 2017, employment increased 1.4%.