Industrial output in the eurozone fell slightly in January, official figures showed on Thursday, though longer-term data offered reassuring signs of improvement in the struggling European economy.
The EU's Eurostat agency said industrial production in the 19-nation currency bloc dipped by 0.1 percent in January from a month before, despite expectations of a slight rise over the period.
However, over 12 months, production in the eurozone gained 1.2 percent in a sign that economic activity in Europe could be slowly recovering from lacklustre growth levels on the back of cheaper oil and unprecedented policies from the European Central Bank.
Reassuringly, factory output in France, the bloc's second biggest economy and an increasing source of worry, grew by a solid 1.6 percent over 12 months, exceeding Germany's 1.0 percent.
Post-bailout Ireland roared ahead by 8.8 percent, though Portugal, also after an EU-IMF bailout, fell by 1.8 percent.
The biggest concern remained Italy, the eurozone's third biggest economy and currently in recession, where production fell by an alarming 2.2 percent over a year.