Euro zone factory output rose slightly more than expected in November despite stagnant production in Germany.

Today's figures show that Italy, the bloc's third largest economy, proved more resilient than expected at the start of the Christmas shopping season. 

Industrial production in the 18 countries sharing the euro rose 0.2% in November, following small gains in October and September, the EU's statistics office Eurostat said today. 

That was better than the flat reading expected by economists in a Reuters poll. 

Facing deflation and near-record unemployment, the euro zone is hoping its weak recovery picks up in 2015, but its debt crisis has badly damaged confidence and many investors say that only a US-style bond-buying programme will lift the economy. 

The fragility of the recovery was evident in the monthly and annual November production data, with Germany, Europe's largest economy, still struggling to emerge from crisis. 

Compared to the year earlier, industrial production slid 0.4%, dragged down by Germany, France and Italy, which make up two-thirds of the euro zone's factory output and all fell. 

On a monthly basis, only Italy of the larger economies rose in November, climbing 0.3%, its best result since June. 

The fall in world oil prices weighed on the index as energy production fell almost 1% on a monthly basis. Capital goods, or machinery used to make other machinery and a sign of future demand, also fell 0.2%. 

But in the build-up to the busiest shopping season of the year, euro zone factories posted the highest production of durable consumer goods, such as televisions and washing machines, in more than a year. 

Non-durable consumer goods, including food, also rose 0.5%. 
Fourth-quarter economic growth data for the euro zone is due on February 13, but the signs are that the bloc ended the year on a weak note and euro zone consumer prices turned negative in December. 

The negative inflation may push the European Central Bank to launch quantitative easing, possibly at its January 22 meeting.