LONDON (Reuters) - The European Central Bank’s next set of economic forecasts in March should see better growth numbers as long as the situations in Greece and Ukraine do not deteriorate, the bank’s vice president said on Thursday.
Speaking at a banking dinner, the ECB’s Vitor Constancio said the impact of the ECB’s soon-to-be-launched 1 trillion euro stimulus program as well as a sharp drop in global oil prices should help lift the euro zone’s economy.
“These channels (of the ECB’s stimulus plan) are important and will make an impact in the economy, and also the dividend from the decline of oil (prices) means that we anticipate that growth in the euro area will be better than it was (expected to be) a few months ago,” Constancio said.
“I expect that to be reflected in the new (ECB) projections in March,” he added.
The bank’s last set of forecasts published in December projected growth of 1 percent this year and 1.5 percent in 2016.
Constancio said the euro zone needed the aggressive stimulus planned by the ECB because at the current pace of growth the region’s so called ‘output gap’ -- the difference between potential and actual growth -- would not be closed until 2018.
He declined to comment on debt talks between Greece and the rest of the euro zone which failed to produce a deal on Wednesday, or on whether the ECB would continue to approve emergency funding for Greek banks.
Reporting by John Geddie and Marc Jones; Editing by Gareth Jones