Official: Spanish Factories Slow for 16th Month
Spain's factories slashed production for the 16th month in a row in December, official data showed Thursday, as they reacted to a slump in demand from recession-hit consumers.
Output dropped 6.9 percent in the year to December, after smoothing out seasonal blips, following a 7.0-percent plunge in November, a report by the National Statistics Institute showed.
Industrial production over the whole of 2012 -- a year of recession in which the unemployment rate spiraled to 26 percent -- was down by 6.0 percent from the previous year, it said.
Spanish factories axed output of consumer goods by 10.5 percent in December from a year earlier.
Production of durable goods such as cars or washing machines plummeted 14.4 percent while output of non-durable goods such as food, medicines, or paper supplies tumbled 10.2 percent.
Output of equipment, a barometer for the outlook of Spanish business, dropped 4.6 percent. Production of intermediate goods used in manufacturing, such as chemicals, fell 8.8 percent.
Energy output edged up 0.6 percent.
Spain's economy shrank at the fastest pace in more than three years in the final quarter of 2012, with gross domestic product declining 0.7 percent from the previous quarter, official data showed last week.