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ECB holds 2012 growth, inflation forecasts steady

Move comes as a surprise to some analysts expecting a sharp downgrade, bolstering the case for extra rate cuts for eurozone nations

AFP, Wednesday 6 Jun 2012
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The European Central Bank on Wednesday held steady its forecasts for both economic growth and inflation in the 17-country euro area.

Speaking at a news conference after the bank kept its key rates unchanged, ECB President Mario Draghi said the "the baseline scenario of our projections didn't change."
 
Some analysts had been expecting the bank to revise its growth and inflation forecasts downward sharply, bolstering the case for additional rate cuts for the 17 countries that share the euro.
 
But the ECB is continuing to expect eurozone gross domestic product growth (GDP) to contract marginally by 0.1 percent this year, the same forecast it had made three months ago, according to the latest updated projections.
 
And the projection for next year was trimmed only slightly to 1.0 per cent from 1.1 per cent previously.
 
At the same time, euro area-wide inflation was to reach 2.4 per cent in 2012, way above the ECB's target of close to but just below 2.0 per cent.
 
And inflation would slow to 1.6 per cent in 2013, the bank predicted.
 
Both inflation forecasts were unchanged from March.
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