Euro zone industrial production shrank more that expected in December under the weight of falling output of capital and non-durable consumer goods, data showed today.

Today's data confirmed the euro zone's economic contraction in the fourth quarter. 

The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said production in the euro zone fell 1.6% month-on-month for a 0.8% year-on-year decline as much of the economy was closed to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 1% monthly and a 0.3% annual decrease. 

The output of capital goods, used for investment, plunged 3.1% on the month and year-on-year while the production non-durable consumer goods - usually food or clothes - was down 0.6% on the month and 3.9% on the year. 

This offset the increased production of rises in intermediate goods and durable consumer goods. 

Eurostat estimated earlier this month that the euro zone economy contracted 0.7% quarter-on-quarter, for a 5.1% year-on-year decline.

Economists expect another GDP fall in the first three months of this year amid continued economic lockdowns.