By Xavier Fontdegloria
Italy's industrial output rose in July for the third consecutive month, but at a slower pace than in May or June, according to data released Thursday by statistics office Istat.
The industrial production index increased by 7.4% in seasonally adjusted terms in July from the prior months, compared with the 8.2% monthly gain registered in June.
The reading outpaced the expectations of economists polled by FactSet, who had predicted industrial output to increase by 4%.
"The recovery of industrial production continued in July... Growth was particularly strong for capital goods and extended to almost all sectors of economic activity", the agency said.
Manufacturing activity increased by 8.7% in July from June, while mining and energy output fell by 2.2% and 0.3%, respectively.
Italy's increase in July industrial production was bigger than that of other big European economies. French industrial output rose 3.8% from a month earlier, while Germany's increased by 1.2%.
On an annual basis, Italy's total industrial output fell in July by 8% in calendar-adjusted terms, less than the 11.4% decline expected by analysts.
Despite the rebound trend that started in May, industrial production in all sectors was still lower than a year earlier. Manufacturing of coke and refined petroleum products and of textiles, wearing apparel, leather and accessories suffered the biggest losses, with drops of 21.4% and 20.6%, respectively. Manufacture of food products, beverages and tobacco was down by 0.4%.
Italy's economy, the eurozone's third largest, suffered a historic 12.8% quarterly decline in the second quarter due to the pandemic and the strict lockdown measures that were implemented at the beginning of March.
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