LONDON: The fledgling recovery among eurozone factories stumbled slightly last month, held back particularly by the economic laggards on the bloc's southern fringe, surveys showed yesterday.
Production growth in Italy and Spain eased off in September, suggesting economic recovery there remains fragile. Battered Greece's contraction deepened.
In France, the region's second biggest economy, factories edged closer to pulling out of a 19-month slump but were still contracting.
Germany, Europe's largest economy, grew but saw the pace of growth ease slightly from August. It was the result, some analysts said, of weakness to its south.
"Italy disappointed, Spain ditto. Germany has been caught in the backwash ... so no real improvement - it's pretty much 'as you were'," said Peter Dixon at Commerzbank.
"There were some positive signs but we need more information before we can say that this definitely marks a turning point."
Irish factories chalked up their fastest pace of growth in 14 months while Dutch output hit a 29-month high.
Italy is struggling to emerge from its longest post-war recession and is again in political trouble, with Prime Minister Enrico Letta battling to stay in office after Silvio Berlusconi withdrew his party's five ministers from the government.
Spain returned to growth for the first time in two years in the third quarter, the government said last week, but its unemployment rate remains by far one of the worst in the eurozone, rivalled only by Greece.
Eurozone unemployment held flat at 12 per cent in August after easing in July and European policymakers had made job creation their top priority for restoring sound growth.
"If that can be sustained, then wonderful, but I think it is too early to talk about a turnaround in the labour market," he said. Reuters