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BRUSSELS, Feb 13 AFP

February 13 2013, 10:17PM

Industrial output in the 17-nation eurozone showed a sharp turnaround in December, gaining 0.7 per cent compared with activity in November when it fell a revised 0.7 per cent, official data showed on Wednesday.

This was the first month-on-month growth registered since August when output rose 0.8 per cent.

For the full 27-member European Union, industrial output in December was up 0.5 per cent from November when it dropped 0.6 per cent, the Eurostat statistics agency said.

Compared with December 2011, industrial production in the eurozone fell 2.4 per cent while the EU dropped 2.3 per cent, both much better than in November if still in negative territory.

For 2012 as a whole, eurozone industrial output was off 2.4 per cent with the EU down 2.1 per cent.

Among the major economies, Germany rose 0.8 per cent in December compared with November, France and Spain were flat, and Britain put on 1.1 per cent.

The stand-out performer was Ireland which showed an increase in industrial output of 8.5 per cent in December after just 0.2 per cent in November although its figures have been volatile.