Euro zone industrial output turned lower in December after a sharp upturn in November had encouraged hopes that a modest economic recovery was gaining momentum, official figures showed today.

Industrial output in the then 17-nation euro zone fell 0.7% in December compared with November, when it rose a revised 1.6%, the Eurostat Statistics office said.

November was first given as an increase of 1.8%.
Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a December downturn of about 0.3%.
In the full 28-member European Union, industrial output was also down 0.7% in December after a gain of 1.3% the previous month, Eurostat.

Compared with December 2012, industrial output was up 0.5% in the euro zone and up 0.9% in the EU.

Economic powerhouse Germany showed a fall of 0.7% in December after a gain of 2.6% in November while struggling France dropped 0.3% after rising 1.2%.

Data for non-euro Britain rose 0.4% after a fall of 0.1% in November.

Analysts had welcomed November's strong report as a sign the recovery was back on track after a weak period and boded well for fourth quarter growth figures, due on Friday.

The euro zone escaped a record 18-month recession in the second quarter with growth of 0.3%, only for this to slow to a marginal 0.1% in the third.