Extracts from the press conference by Joaquín Almunia, on Interim Economic Forecasts
During a press conference, Joaquín Almunia, Member of the EC in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs, presented the EU interim forecast.
Economic growth is expected to slow to 2,00% this year in the European Union and 1.8% in the euro area as some of the downside risks identified in the autumn forecasting exercice -the ongoing financial turmoil, a sharp slowdown in the US and high commodity prices- have materialised. This is 0.4 percentage point less, for both areas, than forecast in November. Inflation this year is expected to average 2.9% in the EU and 2.6% in the euro area following the strong rise in food and energy prices. This is half a percentage point more than compared to the previous forecast. But inflation is expected to return to more normal levels in the last quarter of 2008. SHOTLIST