September 13, 2018 / 1:29 PM / in 9 days

ECB keeps inflation forecasts, sees slightly lower growth

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank kept its inflation forecasts unchanged in September but lowered growth projections slightly, ECB President Mario Draghi told a news conference on Thursday.

European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi attends the news conference following the governing council's interest rate decision at the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, September 13, 2018. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

The ECB, which targets inflation at just below 2 percent, sees consumer price growth at 1.7 percent this year and in 2019 and 2020.

With underlying economic trends little changed since its previous projections in June, economists had predicted almost no change in the ECB’s quarterly forecasts, with a Reuters poll projecting 1.7 percent inflation through 2020.

But worries over protectionism and turbulence in several key economies have weighed on some growth indicators and economists had said there was a risk of some small cuts to the ECB’s forecasts.

For 2018, the ECB sees euro zone economic growth of 2.0 percent, against a previous projection of 2.1 percent, while in 2019 it sees growth at 1.8 percent versus its June forecast of 1.9 percent. Its 1.7 percent forecast for 2020 was unchanged.

The following are the ECB staff’s new projections for inflation and GDP growth, with June forecasts in brackets.

The ECB updates projections once a quarter.

2018 2019 2020

GDP growth 2.0 (2.1) 1.8 (1.9) 1.7 (1.7)

Inflation 1.7 (1.7) 1.7 (1.7) 1.7 (1.7)

Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Catherine Evans

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