- Inflation is now seen averaging 1.9% this year, above the 1.5% projected in March, while in 2022 it is seen at 1.5%, against an earlier projection for 1.2%.
FRANKFURT: The European Central Bank raised its growth and inflation projections for this year and next on Thursday as the euro zone economy started to roar back to life after more than a year of restrictions to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
ECB President Christine Lagarde also said the ECB saw risks to growth as "broadly balanced", a shift away from the ECB's long standing assessment of risks as tilted to the downside.
In what it describes as the baseline scenario, the ECB expects GDP to expand by 4.6% this year, above the 4% seen in March, while growth next year is seen at 4.7% against the ECB's previous 4.1% projection.
Its inflation forecast for this year was raised sharply, mostly because of higher commodity prices, but consumer price growth beyond 2021 is seen remaining well short of the ECB's almost 2% target, the fresh figures show.
Inflation is now seen averaging 1.9% this year, above the 1.5% projected in March, while in 2022 it is seen at 1.5%, against an earlier projection for 1.2%.
Lagarde said underlying inflation was expected to increase gradually but that price pressures would remain subdued and slack in the economy would keep inflation below the ECB's target of just under 2% through 2023.
She said the ECB expected economic activity to accelerate in the second half of 2021 but that the course of the pandemic and responses to it would continue to dictate the pace. Inflation would rise further in H2 before falling back as transitory factors fade, Lagarde added.
The following are the ECB's quarterly growth and inflation projections through 2023. Figures in brackets are the ECB's previous forecasts from March.
The ECB targets inflation "below, but close to, 2%".