BRUSSELS The euro zone economy grew less than initially estimated in the last quarter of last year as industrial output recorded the worst fall in more than 4 years in December, estimates from the European Union's statistics office Eurostat showed on Tuesday.
Eurostat said the gross domestic product (GDP) of the 19 countries sharing the euro bloc grew 0.4 percent on the quarter in the last three months of 2016, revising down its earlier estimate, released on Jan 31, of a 0.5 percent rise.
It also revised down its estimate of GDP growth year-on-year to 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter from 1.8 percent.
The revision was partly due to a large fall in industry output in December, which was 1.6 percent lower than in November, the steepest fall since September 2012 when it decreased by 1.9 percent.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected a drop of 1.5 percent.
Compared to a year earlier, euro zone industrial production rose 2.0 percent, slowing from a 3.2 percent year-on-year rise in November. The yearly increase was higher than market expectations of a 1.7 percent rise.
The monthly output drop in December was mostly due to a 3.3 percent fall in the production of capital goods, like machineries, a sign of decreasing appetite for long-term investment.
Output fell also in the energy sector, non-durable consumer goods and intermediate goods.
Production of durable consumer goods, such as cars and refrigerators, was the only component of the indicator that went up. It recorded a 2.9 percent rise, in a sign of managers' confidence that consumers will spend more on durable goods.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio)