ECB trims 2018 eurozone growth forecast on trade fears

Riga (AFP) – The European Central Bank on Thursday slashed its 2018 eurozone growth forecast from 2.4 to 2.1 percent, blaming the threats of rising protectionism and global trade tensions for clouding the outlook.

“Uncertainties related to global factors, including the threat of increased protectionism, have become more prominent, the risk of persistent heightened financial market volatility warrants monitoring,” ECB chief Mario Draghi told reporters in Riga.

The bank however lifted its inflation projections for 2018 and 2019, which are now expected to reach 1.7 percent for both years — up from a previous estimate of 1.4 percent.