The European Central Bank has “substantially” upgraded its GDP growth forecasts for the eurozone, reflecting the brightening economic prospects for the single currency area even as the UK’s outlook is gloomy due to Brexit.
The ECB’s latest forecast for growth in 2017 is 2.4 per cent, up from 2.2 per cent in September.
The 2018 forecast is revised up to 2.3 per cent, up from 1.8 per cent previously.
Finally, growth in 2019, the year of Brexit, is projected to be 1.9 per cent in the eurozone, up from 1.7 per cent.
By contrast the UK economy is expected by our own Office for Budget Responsibility to grow by just 1.5 per cent in 2017, 1.4 per cent in 2018 and 1.3 per cent in 2019.
“The latest data and survey results point to solid and broad-based growth momentum. Our monetary policy measures, which have facilitated the deleveraging process, continue to support domestic demand,” said the ECB president, Mario Draghi, in his regular press conference in Frankfurt.
As expected by markets, the ECB kept its interest rates on hold, but confirmed that it plans to reduce its rate of stimulatory asset purchases to €30bn a month from January, down from the current rate of €60bn.
The ECB also upgraded its inflation forecasts for 2018 to 1.4 per cent, from 1.2 per cent previously.
However, that remains well below the central bank’s official target of just below 2 per cent.
Eurozone inflation in the year to November was 1.5 per cent, according to Eurostat.