EU hails growth but still concerned about jobs, investment

The European Commission has slightly upgraded the GDP growth outlook for Slovenia in its spring economic forecast to 3.3% for this year and 3.1% in 2018.

The EC also noted that the Polish labour market is performing well, predicting that unemployment will fall from 6.2 percent - as calculated using Eurostat's methods - in 2016 to 5.2 percent in 2017 and 4.4 percent in 2018.

"It is good news too that the high uncertainty that has characterised the past twelve months may be starting to ease".

"External risks are linked, for instance, to future US economic and trade policy and broader geopolitical tensions", the commission said.

The growth forecast is lower than those of authorities here, but the European Commission has typically under estimated growth here since the crash.

The European Commission has increased its growth prediction for Spain to 2.8% from its previous forecast for 2.3% in February.

It expects eurozone GDP growth of 1.7 per cent in 2017 and 1.8 per cent in 2018 (1.6 per cent and 1.8 per cent in the Winter Forecast).

The 28-nation bloc as a whole would grow by 1.9 per cent in both 2017 and 2018, the commission said.

The British economy will expand by 1.8 percent in 2017, up from the 1.5 percent forecast three months ago, it predicted.

If confirmed, the 2018 figure would be the lowest since the beginning of 2009, although the rate of people without jobs will remain well above the average in Italy, Spain, Cyprus and Greece, where is projected at 21.6 percent in 2018.

Meanwhile, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index stagnated and the pound came under pressure Thursday as investors digested a mixed bag of messages from the Bank of England's latest update. Europe's ailing banking sector is also seen as a concern.

France will instead have a deficit higher than previously predicted this year and in 2018, and above the threshold set by European Union rules, the commission estimated, a possible reason of conflict with the new French President Emmanuel Macron.

"The activities of multinationals could impact GDP growth in either direction", today's report added. The first: Political uncertainty.

Earlier Thursday, Asian stock markets rose, with energy firms providing strong support after a jump in oil prices, while the dollar firmed against the yen as a top Federal Reserve official reinforced expectations for further U.S. interest rate hikes.

"I hope and I am waiting that an agreement will be reached at the Eurogroup on May 22".

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