Malta's GDP almost three times that of eurozone

EU raises euro zone growth outlook despite uncertainty

Euro area economic recovery is expected to continue at a largely steady pace this year and next and economy is set to expand at a faster pace this year than expected earlier, the European Commission said Thursday.

"Investment growth is expected to remain broadly unchanged, benefiting from FDI inflows and higher government capital expenditure".

Brexit remains also one of the main risks for the bloc's growth in the coming months, the Commission said. "We have spent a lot of energy on this and the climate has changed", said the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici, commenting on Greece's progress.

According to the European Union executive's latest estimate, the 19-nation eurozone economy will expand by 1.7 percent in 2017, to be followed by 1.8 percent in 2018.

Sterling also suffered from news of falling industrial production in Britain and a widening of the country's trade deficit.

Outside the euro zone, the Commission revised upward its forecast of Britain's growth to 1.8 percent this year, from a previously estimated 1.5 percent, and to 1.3 percent in 2018 from 1.2 percent, in a sign that the British economy will be hit less than expected by Britain's decision to leave the EU.

Afghan Forces Fire on Census Workers, Killing 9
Kabul claims the villages are part of the war-torn country's Spin Boldak district, an assertion Pakistan flatly denies. Replying to another question, he said that Pakistan government was trying its level best to mend the situation.

For the commission, risks for the bloc's economic outlook lay in both inside and outside.

Souring the mood, bailed-out Greece, which swung out of recession a year ago, saw its growth forecast cut sharply to 2.1 percent in 2017 and 2.5 percent in 2018.

Italy remains however a potential source of risk, for its weak banks and high unemployment which fuels the rise of euroskeptic parties as elections approach.

The updated economic forecasts come a few days after pro-EU centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron was elected as France's new president. "The debt-to-GDP ratio is forecast to decline to 132.5% in 2018".

Private consumption growth is projected to slow in 2017, due to the impact of slower employment growth and higher inflation on real disposable income. The report also highlights that the recovery is supported by "more balanced" growth than in the years prior to 2008.

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