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EU Commission could raise 2021 euro zone growth forecast in May

FILE PHOTO: European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni speaks during a news conference following the Eurozone finance ministers video meeting in Brussels, Belgium March 15, 2021. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission may increase its growth forecast for the euro zone for 2021 when it issues new economic projections in May, bringing them closer to the International Monetary Fund forecast, EU Economic Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said.

Speaking at the IMF’s spring meetings, held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gentiloni said economic recovery was under way because, despite new pandemic restrictions in some EU countries, vaccinations were accelerating.

“Recovery will gain speed in the second half and probably our forecast one month from now will be more optimistic... could be more optimistic than the one in winter,” Gentiloni said in a discussion with IMF head Kristalina Georgieva.

The Commission forecast in February that euro zone growth would be at 3.8% this year and in 2022. The IMF forecast last week that euro zone growth would be 4.4% in 2021.

“The IMF outlook is a bit more optimistic and this is quite possible because the recovery ... is under way,” Gentiloni said.

Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Jon Boyle

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