Output from euro zone factories in September fell by the most since January 2009, dragged down by Germany's spluttering industry that is succumbing to the impact of three years of crisis.
Industrial production in the 17 countries sharing the euro fell 2.5 percent in September from August, the EU's statistics office Eurostat said on Wednesday, worse than expectations of a 1.9 percent fall forecast by economists in a Reuters poll.
The performance was the worst on a monthly basis since January 2009, when factory output fell 4.0 percent as the global financial crisis drove major world economies into recession.
The disappointing data adds to expectations that the euro zone will end 2012 with at least a 0.4 percent economic contraction, the second recession in three years, as the debt crisis that began in Greece three years ago sucks business confidence and pushes the number of unemployed to a record level.
Euro zone industrial production fell 2.3 percent in September compared to a year ago, as expected by economists.