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Italian, French industrial production tops estimates in January

Industrial production in Italy and France topped estimates for January, while manufacturing orders in Germany unexpectedly contracted.

The seasonally adjusted industrial production index in Italy grew 1.7% month over month in January, surpassing the Econoday consensus estimate of a 0.2% rise. The index declined 1.8% in the three months to January, compared with the prior three-month period, data from the country's National Institute of Statistics showed.

After calendar adjustments, Italian industrial production dropped 0.8% in January from a year ago.

The European Commission in February slashed its GDP growth forecast for the Italian economy to 0.2% in 2019 from 1.2% previously projected, while Banca D'Italia SpA said in January that it expects GDP growth of 0.6% in 2019, down 0.4 percentage points from its previous forecast.

French industrial production unexpectedly rose 1.3% month over month in January after a revised zero percent change in December 2018. The Econoday consensus estimate suggested a no-change projection for January. Manufacturing output edged up 1.0% following 0.4% growth in the previous month, data from France's National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies showed.

Output of machinery and equipment goods rebounded to 5.9% growth, following a 2.2% monthly decline in December 2018. Output in mining and quarrying, energy, water supply and waste management also bounced back to a 3.1% increase from a 2.2% decrease. Meanwhile, transport equipment saw a 3.2% decline in manufacturing after a 2.6% increase.

New manufacturing orders in Germany declined 2.6% in January on a monthly basis, after price, seasonal and calendar adjustments, compared to expectations for a 0.5% monthly gain, provisional data from the country's Federal Statistical Office showed. Adjusted new orders rose 0.9% month over month in December 2018, up from the earlier estimate of a 1.6% decline.

German domestic orders dropped 1.2% while foreign orders declined 3.6% in January compared to the prior month. New orders from the euro area fell 2.6%, and those from other countries slipped 4.2%.

German manufacturers of capital goods recorded a 3.6% monthly decrease in new orders, while consumer goods orders declined 1.4% in January. Producers of intermediate goods reported a 1.1% decrease in new orders from December 2018.

Price- and calendar-adjusted new orders declined 3.9% in January compared to the same month a year ago.

The country's manufacturing turnover was up 0.6% in January compared to the previous month, after price, seasonal and calendar adjustments. In December 2018, adjusted turnover was up 3.2% from the prior month, compared to a previous estimate of a 2.7% increase.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recently slashed growth estimates for the Eurozone and the U.K., saying the downward revisions were notable for countries including Italy and Germany.