European Union raises euro zone growth forecasts, sees drop in unemployment

European Union raises euro zone growth forecasts, sees drop in unemployment

EU officials said the eurozone's recovery from the global financial crisis of 2007-08 faced threats, such as negotiations over Britain's exit from the EU, China's economic adjustment and potential protectionist measures from U.S. President Donald Trump.

But while some of the risks to the European economy are ebbing, geopolitical developments and a host of "elevated" uncertainties still pose threats, the EU's executive arm-the European Commission-said.

In its Spring 2017 Economic Forecast, the European Commission said "robust revenue growth" would support a "further budget deficit reduction", noting Serbia's domestic demand was "picking up, boosting imports and government revenues".

Inflation is expected to slow to 1.3 percent next year from a downwardly revised 1.6 percent this year, the Commission said, predicting a lower inflation than European Central Bank's estimates of a 1.7 percent rate this year.

Gross domestic product in the 28-country European Union will grow by 1.9% in both 2017 and 2018, the bloc estimated in its latest economic outlook, up from its February forecast of 1.8%.

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Moscovici said that "the high uncertainty that has characterised the past 12 months may be starting to ease". "But the euro area recovery in jobs and investment remains uneven", EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said.

Malta's GDP growth is being forecast by the European Commission to be 4.6 per cent this year - almost three times that of the eurozone. It has also estimated that the public deficit will end the year at 3.2% of GDP. Europe's ailing banking sector is also seen as a concern.

On the trade front the commission expects exports to contribute marginally to GDP growth both this year and next despite the fact that export growth slowed last year and ultimately had a negative impact on GDP growth.

"Two of the key messages given out were that above target inflation can only be tolerated so much, and that rates could rise sooner than perhaps the markets are anticipating". The first: Political uncertainty.

"And it looks like OPEC's production cut is finally biting", he added.

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