Latest industrial data for Italy and France has beaten forecasts but both economies are still struggling. The UK has seen industrial production dip, but was still the fastest growing major economy last year. Amy Pollock has more.
More signs of recovery in Europe - small ones anyway. Industrial output improved in struggling Italy in December - the 0.4 percent gain was the second straight monthly rise - beating all analysts' forecasts. This bodes well for Italy's GDP numbers out on Friday. French industrial output was also up at the end of 2014, rising 1.5 percent on strong energy and transport sectors. Lower energy prices and the weaker euro are helping, although recovery remains fragile. That's according to CIBC's Jeremy Stretch. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF CURRENCY STRATEGY CIBC, JEREMEY STRETCH, SAYING: "I think it is this combination of lower financing costs, a cheaper euro, some of those structural reforms in the periphery working through the system. I think the combination of all those factors is encouraging. Probably still the headline risk for the euro zone remains the political backdrop." The UK in contrast showed signs of a slowdown in its economic recovery. Industrial output fell 0.2 percent in December - partly due to maintenance work slowing North Sea oil and gas fields. But it still had the fastest growth rate in 2014 of any major advanced economy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF CURRENCY STRATEGY CIBC, JEREMEY STRETCH, SAYING: "I think the manufacturing story is still one of relative encouragement for the UK going forward. Manufacturing ended the year nearly 2.5 percent higher than a year ago levels and I think when you look at some of those sectors, particularly things like the auto sector, there's very strong demand growth and/or production growth." The UK and its European neighbours will be hoping the standoff with Greece doesn't knock everyone's economies off course.