EU hails growth but still concerned about jobs, investment

But the Commission warned in today's statement that the "uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook remains elevated".

The 19-country eurozone will grow by 1.7 percent in 2017 followed by 1.8 percent in 2018, the Commission said in its spring economic forecasts.

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

Gross domestic product in the 28-country European Union will grow by 1.9% in both 2017 and 2018, the bloc estimated in its latest economic outlook, up from its February forecast of 1.8%.

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

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That said, the euro area recovery in jobs and investment remains uneven, Moscovici pointed out.

Italy's debt, the bloc's highest after Greece, is forecast to grow slightly this year to 133.1 percent of GDP from 132.6 percent last year before falling to 132.5 in 2018, the Commission said, reducing its estimates of the Italian debt from its previous forecast.

While the overall rate of growth is projected to be unchanged this year, the commission expects a rebalancing of the economy, with consumer spending set to slow in response to rising prices that partly reflect the depreciation of the British pound since the Brexit vote. Structural deficit projection has also improved. According to European Commission, growth is placed in question by two factors.

"The British pound is seeing some pressure versus the USA dollar following the BoE's decision", analysts at Charles Schwab said.

Looking at what could drive further growth, the Commission also mentioned the launch of the Malta Development Bank, saying it could provide an additional boost to investment. Inflation is also expected to be slower than previous estimates.

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Analyst Peter Ashton from trading firm Eiger FX said there was "arguably a more hawkish undercurrent emerging" at the BoE.

"The decision to increase the minimum wage may support private consumption further, although the impact on GDP growth could be offset by higher costs for employers", it added when analysing the possible risks.

Wall Street opened lower after earnings reports pointed to weakness in the American retail sector.

Both main crude contracts soared nearly three percent Wednesday after data showed a drop in United States inventories nearly three times more than forecast, fanning hopes of rising demand as the American holiday driving season kicks off.

"I hope and I am waiting that an agreement will be reached at the Eurogroup on May 22. Tackling the causes of this divergence is the key challenge we must address in the months and years to come".

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