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Euro Zone Factory Output Up as Economy Slowly Recovers

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Output at euro zone factories rose for the first time since August at the end of last year in a sign the single currency bloc was slowly starting to pull out of recession.

Industrial production in the 17 countries sharing the euro increased 0.7 percent in December from the previous month, the EU's statistics office Eurostat said on Wednesday.

Economists polled by Reuters expected a modest, 0.2 percent rise in December from November.

Durable and non-durable consumer goods, from refrigerators to ravioli, showed the most growth from November, the production of both showing a rise of 2.0 pct in December.

Production of machinery to produce other goods, an indicator of future business, was also up 1.3 percent month on month.

Germany, Europe's largest economy,posted a 0.8 rise in production in the month.

Overall euro zone production in December was still down 2.4 percent compared with December 2011, in line with expectations.

Economists expect the euro zone to recover from recession in 2013.