Eurozone gross domestic product (GDP) will rise 1.6 percent this year, slightly above the previously forecast growth rate of 1.5 percent, the European Commission said in a report on Tuesday.
“While exports should continue supporting the recovery, a rebalancing of growth toward domestic demand is expected for 2011, resulting in more sustainable growth,” the executive arm of the 27-member union said in the report.
The report, however, pointed out that growth will be uneven across the member countries, while noting that the outlook in countries like France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK have boosted the projections. These countries together account for as much as 80 percent of the European Union GDP.
The Brussels-based Commission said inflation in the region will average 2.2 percent in 2011, up from an earlier projection of 1.8 percent. The Commission said the overall economic outlook for the region has not returned to normalcy despite the recent relative calm in the financial markets. The report also underlined the need for structural reforms and fiscal prudence.
Ensuring a stronger recovery calls for an agreement on an ambitious agenda of fiscal consolidation and structural reforms, it said.
Meanwhile, data showed on Tuesday that manufacturing activity in the eurozone accelerated to a near 11-year high in February. According to Markit Economics, manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) in the 17-nation eurozone stood unchanged at 59 points in February.
Markit said the input price inflation climbed to record rates in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Austria, reached a near-survey peak in Ireland and the fastest since July 2008 in Greece.