BERLIN, Feb 7 (Reuters) - German industrial production fell more than expected in December after posting a steep rise in the previous month, data showed on Wednesday, suggesting that factories in Europe's largest economy shifted into a lower gear at the end of 2017.
Industrial output edged down by 0.6 percent after rising by a revised 3.1 percent in November, the Federal Statistics Office said. The December reading compared with the mid-range forecast in a Reuters poll for a fall of 0.5 percent.
A breakdown of the data, provided by the Federal Economy Ministry, showed that factories produced less capital goods and consumer goods while production of intermediate goods rose. Construction activity was also feeble.
"The fourth quarter was significantly weaker than the previous three quarters," the ministry said.
"Nonetheless, the trend in output is clearly pointing upwards and with the strong order intake in December and good sentiment, strong industrial activity is expected over the coming months," the ministry said. (Reporting by Michael Nienaber,)