Eurozone recovery continuing at moderate pace - ECB

Poor demand holding back services, euro has strengthened

(ANSA) - Rome, March 24 - Economic recovery in the eurozone is continuing but at a slower rate than expected, the European Central Bank (ECB) said in its monthly bulletin published on Thursday.
    "The economic recovery in the euro area is continuing, albeit with lower than expected growth at the beginning of the year on the back of a weaker external environment," the bank said.
    "Looking ahead, the economic recovery is expected to proceed at a moderate pace," it added. "Domestic demand should be further supported by the ECB's monetary policy measures and their favourable impact on financing conditions, as well as by continued employment gains from past structural reforms," the bank continued. "Overall, insufficient demand remains the single most important factor holding back services business at the euro area level, but other factors play a role at country and sub-sectoral level," the ECB said.
    "For example, factors limiting services business that are reported comparatively often by market services firms are financial constraints in Italy and shortage of labour in Germany," it added.
    The ECB also noted the significant appreciation of the euro exchange rate over the three months under review. "The euro appreciated markedly in effective terms between early December2015 and mid-February 2016 amid the increase in global uncertainty," the bank said. "In bilateral terms, the euro appreciated by 3.4% against the US dollar over the same period" while "uncertainty surrounding the United Kingdom's referendum on EU membership weighed on the pound sterling, resulting in the euro appreciating by 9.3%". The euro also appreciated strongly against the Russian rouble, the Chinese renminbi and the currencies of emerging market economies and commodity-exporting countries, the ECB continued. "Higher volatility and the decline in risk appetite supported the Japanese yen, leading to a euro depreciation against the Japanese currency by 5.4%," it said.
   

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