Spanish factories slow for 17th month

Spanish factories slowed production lines for the 17th month in a row in January, official data showed Friday, slashing output of durable goods such as cars or washing machines in the midst a deep recession.

Output from Spain's factories and utilities tumbled 5.0 percent over the year to January, after smoothing out seasonal blips, following a 7.1-percent annual decline the previous month, said a report by the National Statistics Institute.

Industrial production in Spain has fallen on an annual basis every month since September 2011, when the economy tipped into a recession that has left more than 26 percent of workers out of a job.

As shoppers kept a tight grip on their wallets, factories curbed output of consumer goods by 7.9 percent over the year to January, lowering their production of non-durable goods such as foods or paper by 7.4 percent and slashing output of durable goods by 15.0 percent.

Output of business equipment, a barometer for the outlook of Spanish industry, dropped 2.7 percent.

Spanish producers cut their output of intermediate goods used in manufacturing, such as chemicals, by 3.8 percent.

Utilities lowered energy output by 4.4 percent.