Italy’s industrial production grew by more than expected in August, nearly reaching last year’s level and outperforming other major eurozone economies.

The figures are the latest evidence that the bloc’s longstanding economic laggard is enjoying a stronger than previously forecast recovery from the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Output rose by 7.7 per cent in August compared with the previous month, according to official data published on Friday. The reading was much stronger than the 1.3 per cent forecast by economists polled by Reuters, and is the fourth successive month in which output has grown by more than 7 per cent.

The reading was stronger than the 1.3 per cent increase in France, 0.3 per cent in the UK and a marginal contraction in

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