Euro zone industrial production fell in May by more than expected, driven down mostly by a drop in the output of non-durable consumer goods such as food and clothes, data today showed.

The European Union's statistics office Eurostat said industrial output in the 19 countries sharing the euro fell 1% month-on-month, whereas economists polled by Reuters had expected a 0.2% decline.

On an annual basis, production massively increased as the economy recovers from the worst phase of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

However, the surge of 20.5% was lower than the average forecast by economists in a Reuters poll of 22.2%.

The pace of the recovery also slowed down after the 39.4% increase of output in April from a year earlier.

The biggest fall in May from April was of non-durable consumer goods, for which output dropped by 2.3%, its first decline this year and its steepest decrease since April 2020.

Production also dropped 1.6% for capital goods, such as machinery, which may indicate lower output in the future.

Energy production was down by 1.9% on the month, while output of durable consumer goods, such as cars or fridges, rose by 1.6%.

The month-on-month fall in May was compounded by a downward revision of production data for April, when output increased 0.6%, instead of the 0.8% that Eurostat had estimated last month.

Euro zone production had also risen month-on-month in March, by 0.5%, but declined by 1.3% in February, Eurostat data showed.