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Staff wear protective masks on the Volkswagen assembly line in Wolfsburg, Germany, on April 27, 2020.

POOL New/Reuters

Euro zone industrial output was much stronger than expected in January and was revised sharply upwards in December too, the European Union’s statistics office said on Friday, pointing to a better turn of the year despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eurostat said industrial production in the 19 countries sharing the euro rose 0.8 per cent month-on-month in January for a 0.1 per cent year-on-year gain, beating market expectations of a 0.2 per cent monthly and a -2.4 per cent annual reading.

Eurostat also revised upwards the output numbers for December to -0.1 per cent month-on-month and -0.2 per cent year-on-year from the previously reported -1.6 per cent and to -0.8 per cent respectively.

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The higher output in monthly terms in January was across all categories with the biggest gains of 0.8 per cent in durable consumer goods followed by 0.6 per cent in non-durables and 0.4 per cent for both energy and capital goods.

Eurostat said on Tuesday that the euro zone economy contracted by more than previously estimated in the last quarter of 2020 against the previous quarter, as household consumption plunged because of COVID-19 lockdowns.

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