Euro zone industrial output fell in March, official data showed today, consistent with recent data showing the economic recovery to be patchy so far.

Industrial output in the 18-nation euro zone dropped 0.3% in March compared with the figure for February when it gained 0.2%, the Eurostat statistics agency said. 

Compared with March 2013, euro zone industrial output was down 0.1%, after posting a year-on-year gain of 1.7% in February. 

In the full 28-member European Union, March industrial output was down 0.2% compared with February but was up 0.5% on a year-on-year basis.

Analysts said the figures showed the economy continues to struggle for traction after exiting a record recession in second quarter 2013.

Since then, the economy has continued to gain ground only slowly, making tomorrow's first quarter growth report of even more importance for the recovery and possible additional stimulus measures by the European Central Bank to stimulate growth.