Tuesday, final report from the Eurostat showed that economic contraction in the euro area in the fourth quarter was deeper than initially estimated. In the UK, manufacturing output in three months to February recorded the largest decrease since the records began in 1968.


Eurozone gross domestic product, or GDP, contracted by a record 1.6% quarter-on-quarter in the final three months of 2008. The pace of decline was slightly up from the previously estimated fall of 1.5%. GDP fell 0.3% each in the previous two quarters.

The statistical office also revised fourth-quarter annual GDP decline to 1.5% from an initial 1.3% fall. For the whole year, the economy expanded 0.8%, slower than 2.6% growth recorded in 2007.

Germany's Federal Statistical Office announced that the raw steel production in metallurgical plants dropped 49.8% year-on-year.

Hourly wages in Italy rose 3.5% year-on-year in February after rising 4.3% in January, statistical office ISTAT said. On a monthly basis, wages rose 0.3%, slower than 0.8% growth recorded in the previous month.

The Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia announced that the jobless rate stood at 4.4% in 2008, down from 4.9% in the previous year.

The Statistics Austria said the retail trade turnover, excluding automotive fuel in real terms dropped 0.3% year-on-year in the January to February period. In February, retail sales in real terms declined 5.6% on an annual basis.

Separately, the Statistics Austria announced that the wholesale price index dropped 8.6% year-over-year in March, after falling 6.3% in February. This was the lowest level since 1964. On a monthly basis, wholesale prices dropped 1% in March, after falling 0.6% in February.

Rest of Europe

UK's Office for National Statistics reported 6.5% decline in UK manufacturing output during three months to February compared with the three months to November 2008. This was the biggest decline since 1968. Output was 12.2% lower than the same period a year ago.

Industrial production declined 1% month-on-month in February. Economists had expected output to fall 1.2% in February, following a 2.7% decrease in January.

In February, manufacturing production slipped 0.9% from the previous month taking the annual decline to 13.8%. Economists were looking for a monthly fall of 1.5% and an annual 14.2% drop in February. Annual fall in February was the largest since 1981.

A quarterly Economic Survey from the British Chambers of Commerce confirmed that the UK recession is still very serious and expects it to continue for some time. The business lobby said there is a clear need for corrective action and urged the government to act forcefully to ease the recession.

Hungary's Central Statistical Office revealed in a preliminary report that the industrial production dropped 28.9% year-over-year in February, compared with a 22.9% fall in the previous month.

In a separate report, the statistical office said the international tourist arrivals dropped 19% year-over-year in the January to February period.

The Statistics Estonia said the consumer price index rose 2% year-over-year in March, slower than the 3.4% increase in the previous month. Month-on-month, the CPI declined 0.5% in March.

Sweden's central government payments showed a deficit of SEK 3 billion in March, which was smaller than the Debt Office's SEK 8.8 billion deficit forecast.

The Statistics Lithuania announced that the industrial producer prices dropped 12.1% year-over-year in March, after falling 9% in February. On a monthly basis, producer prices declined 1.8% in March, in contrast to a 0.8% increase in the previous month.

The Statistics Norway announced that the industrial production rose a working day adjusted 2.5% year-over-year in February after falling 0.6% in January. On a monthly basis, industrial production increased a seasonally adjusted 2.2% in February, reversing a 1.4% fall in the previous month.

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