Sweden posts gains in industrial output

Sweden reported significant gains in industrial output in May, mirroring improvements elsewhere in Europe, according to new figures released on Friday.

Swedish output rose 2.3 percent in May from the previous month and 12.4 percent compared with May 2009 for the largest annual rise since 2000, according to Statistics Sweden (SCB)

The agency said the annual gain was driven by the automobile sector and base metals.

Sweden emerged from recession last year and recorded growth of 1.4 percent in the first quarter of 2010 compared with the previous three months.

The government forecasts the economy will grow 3.3 percent this year.

The Swedish figures followed further positive developments in Scandinavian and elsewhere in Europe.

In Finland, industrial production, powered by the metals industry and forestry products, jumped 11.3 percent in May compared with the same month last year and 1.5 percent from April, according to the Finnish statistics office.

Finland suffered during the global financial crisis, with demand for its key products — paper and mobile telephones — plunging.

While a rebound is foreseen for this year, Finland in June fell back into recession after two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Earlier Friday, France reported a 1.7 percent gain in industrial output in May from the previous month, although analysts cautioned that the outlook remained weak.

Italy said its industrial output grew twice as fast as expected in May, up 1.0 percent from April.

But in Greece, grappling with a debt crisis and a stiff austerity programme, industrial production fell 4.9 percent in May after a year-on-year fall of 5.1 percent in April, according to the national statistics authority.

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