EU trims 2014 eurozone growth forecast to 1.1 per cent

PHOTO: EU trims 2014 eurozone growth forecast to 1.1 per cent

BRUSSELS - The European Union cut its 2014 growth forecast for the 17-nation eurozone to 1.1 per cent from 1.2 per cent on Tuesday as emerging market demand may not be so strong as hoped.

The European Commission said the economy would shrink by 0.4 per cent this year, in line with earlier estimates, but would grow by 1.7 per cent in 2015.

"The fiscal consolidation and structural reforms undertaken in Europe have created the basis for recovery," EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said, speaking of a "turning-point" for the global economy.

"But it is too early to declare victory," Rehn said, with the Commission worried about fiscal policy "uncertainty" in the United States and mounting "vulnerabilities" in emerging markets.

The Commission said the commodities and investment-driven models behind the past successes of the Russian and Chinese economies, for instance, may now need change, with the emphasis being on domestic rather than export demand.

While the Commission had expected record eurozone jobless levels to fall next year, the modest recovery suggests overall jobless numbers may yet cross the 20-million threshold.

The latest unemployment forecast for the single currency area next year sees a rate of 12.2 per cent, up from the previous 12.1 per cent.

The Commission also warned that with the economy still growing only slowly and government tax revenues under pressure, France and Spain could again miss agreed EU public deficit targets out to 2016.