ECB Upbeat On Eurozone Growth, Raises 2015 GDP Forecast

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The European Central Bank staff now expects the eurozone economy to grow faster than previously expected as its aggressive easing program, lower oil prices and the weak euro help to boost the currency union. They now see annual gross domestic product rising by 1.5% in 2015 and 1.9% in 2016, better than the 1% and 1.5%, respectively, expected in December, according to projections released Thursday. In 2017, the central bank sees growth of 2.1%. "We have already seen a significant number of positive effects from [our] monetary policy decisions. Financial market conditions and the cost of external finance for the private economy have eased further," ECB President Mario Draghi said at a press conference after the central bank's policy decision. Recent data also suggest the eurozone economy is sprouting more green shoots than expected, suggesting the region is turning a corner. This week, German and eurozone retail sales beat even the most optimistic forecasts

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