BRUSSELS, July 12 (Reuters) - Euro zone industrial production rose more than expected in May, offsetting declines in the past two months, data released on Friday showed, defying gloomy forecasts caused by prolonged trade tensions.
The positive reading could undermine European Central Bank policymakers who favour more stimulus to counter weak growth and low inflation in the euro zone, although economists warn the improvement may only be temporary.
The EU statistics agency Eurostat said euro zone factory output increased by 0.9% in May on the month, above market consensus expectations of a 0.2% rise. The most pessimistic expected drops up to 0.5%.
Eurostat also revised upward its April data, which now shows a 0.4% drop in production instead of the 0.5% estimated earlier.
Production had also fallen in March by 0.3% and was flat in February, after a 2.0% increase in January.
The rise in May was caused by a surge in the output of non-durable consumer goods, such as clothes and packaged food, which went up by 2.7%. (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio, editing by Larry King)