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Record plunge for euro zone Jan output

  Euro zone industrial output plunged again in January against the previous month for a fifth straight month of decline, pointing to a further contraction in the economy at the start of the year.

Industrial production in the 16 countries using the euro fell 3.5% against December for a 17.3% annual drop -- the deepest decline since records began in 1990, the European Union’s statistics office said.

“The very weak entry into the first quarter makes a huge GDP contraction extremely likely in the Q1 our current forecast is -1.7%,” Unicredit said in a research note published before the release of the data, in which the bank forecast only a 3% monthly fall.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected on average a 4.0% monthly decline in output and a 15.5% year-on-year fall.

Eurostat said capital and intermediate goods production suffered the most, falling 6.0% and 3.6% on the month respectively for 21.4 and 24.4% year-on-year declines. (Reuters)