Industrial production (ex-construction) rebounded strongly in August. Following a marginally smaller, but still hefty, 1.6 percent monthly slump in July, output jumped fully 1.7 percent, its best performance since December 2017. Even so, at minus 0.8 percent workday adjusted annual growth remained negative, albeit less so than in July.
August's monthly bounce was led by capital goods which, in climbing fully 3.6 percent, comfortably more than reversed July's 2.0 percent decline. However, both consumer goods (0.9 percent) and intermediates (0.2 percent) also made progress. Energy (2.8 percent) similarly had a positive impact.
August was clearly a very good period for Italian industry but earlier weakness ensured that average output in July/August was still short of the second quarter mean. In the absence of any revisions, a modest 0.2 percent monthly rise in September would be enough to ensure that the third quarter is at least flat. Nonetheless, a major contribution to economic growth last quarter looks unlikely and, of note, the September manufacturing PMI (just 50.0) was ominously weak.