FRANKFURT, March 12 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank cut its growth forecasts for this year and next on Thursday but said the new estimates, which were collated before the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, were probably already out of date. The ECB said it now expects the euro zone's economy to grow by 0.8% this year, 1.3% in 2021 and 1.4% in 2022. This compares to an expansion of 1.1% for 2020 and of 1.4% for each of the following two years projected in its December forecasts. ECB president Christine Lagarde said risks to that outlook were "clearly on the downside", and that the coronavirus epidemic had added a "substantial" negative element. "Euro area growth is expected to regain traction over the medium term," she told a news conference after the bank left interest rates unchanged. The inflation projections were left unchanged at 1.1%, 1.4% and 1.6%. The cut-off date for the ECB's economic forecasts is usually three weeks before they are presented to the policy-making Governing Council. The following are the ECB staff's new projections for inflation and GDP growth, with December forecasts in brackets. The ECB updates projections once a quarter. 2020 2021 2022 GDP growth 0.8 (1.1) 1.3 (1.4) 1.4 (1.4) Inflation 1.1 (1.1) 1.4 (1.4) 1.6 (1.6) (Reporting by Francesco Canepa and John Stonestreet; Editing by Catherine Evans)
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