Friday, official data indicated that Germany's industrial output was better than expected in March, raising hopes of a recovery in the economy. Further, the German trade surplus unexpectedly increased in March as exports grew for the first time in six months.

In the UK, output price inflation in April reached its lowest level in five years, indicating easing inflationary pressures.

Eurozone

Data released by Germany's Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology revealed that industrial output remained flat month-on-month in March, following a revised 3.4% fall in February. Industrial output also fared better than economists' expectations of a 1.3% decline in March.

Germany's external trade surplus climbed to EUR 11.3 billion in March, a report from the Federal Statistical Office showed. The trade surplus totaled EUR 8.6 billion in February and EUR 16.8 billion in March 2008. The increase in March trade surplus came as a surprise to economists, who were largely looking for a lower figure of EUR 8 billion.

Exports grew by a seasonally and calendar adjusted 0.7% in March from February. Meanwhile, imported commodities increased 0.8%. Economists were looking for a monthly decline of 1.3% in exports and a 0.9% fall in imports.

The Statistical Service of the Republic of Cyprus announced that the retail sales volume dropped 2.8% month-on-month in February, compared with a 29.4% fall in the previous month.

The Slovenian statistical office reported that the trade deficit widened to EUR95.77 million in March from EUR51.52 million in February. Further, data showed that industrial production dropped 18.5% year-on-year in March, slowing from a 22.3% fall in February.

Statistics Finland said industrial output fell a working day adjusted 16.5% year-on-year in March, slower than a 21.5% drop in February.

Rest of Europe

The Office for National Statistics said UK's output price inflation slowed to 1.2% in April, marking the lowest rate since April 2004. Economists had expected factory gate inflation to ease to 0.7% from March's 2%. At the same time, output prices registered the highest monthly growth since June 2008. Output prices rose 0.6% in April, following a 0.1% increase in March.

Reflecting a decrease in fuel costs, the input price index for materials and fuels purchased by manufacturing industry showed a 1% monthly fall compared with an increase of 3.9% in the same period of previous year. Prices of imported materials as a whole dipped 1% between March and April.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs or SECO said the Swiss jobless rate in April rose to 3.5% from 3.4% registered in March. The jobless rate matched economists' expectations. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate stood at 3.4% and came in line with expectations.

The Swedish National Debt Office reported a SEK 2.4 billion deficit in central government payments during April. The Debt Office's forecast was a surplus of SEK 12 billion.

Statistics Lithuania said the trade deficit narrowed to LTL 1.027 billion in the first quarter from a LTL 5.382 billion deficit in the same period the previous year. Separately, the agency announced that industrial producer prices or PPI dropped 13.4% year-over-year in April, compared with a revised 11.5% fall in the previous month.

Statistics Norway said industrial production dropped a working day adjusted 1.6% year-on-year in March, after increasing 2.5% in February.

Romania's National Institute of Statistics announced that the retail sales dropped 5.4% year-over-year in March and industrial production dropped 8.5% year-over-year in March, compared to the 14.5% fall in February.

A report by the Turkish Statistical Institute said industrial output dropped 20.9% year-on-year in March, slower than a 23.7% fall in February. Economists expected output to decline 22.8%.

Statistics Estonia announced that the consumer price index or CPI rose 0.3% year-over-year in April, slower than the 2% increase in the previous month.

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