YEREVAN, September 12. / ARKA /. Output by factories in the euro zone fell sharply in July to the lowest level in more than three years, according to figures published Thursday by Eurostat, the European Union's official statistics agency.
Eurostat said industrial production across the region fell 1.5% in July fr om June, the biggest fall since September last year. Economists in a Dow Jones poll had anticipated a slight rise. Production was down 2.1% compared with July 2012. The last time the level of output was lower was in April 2010.
Sizable declines in output by German, Italian and to lesser extent French factories were responsible for much of July's weakness. These economies are the euro zone's three largest and make up about two-thirds of its total output. German industrial production fell 2.3%, reversing an increase of similar size the prior month.
Even steeper falls were registered in some of the currency bloc's smaller members, such as Ireland, where output dropped 8.7% in July from June, and Malta, wh ere it declined 6.7%. -0-