ECB chief pushes back on gloomy forecasts, sticks to recovery outlook 23 minutes ago Shoppes walk past COVID-19 information boards in Liverpool, UK, on Wednesday. Agence France-Presse European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde pushed back against pessimism on Wednesday, predicting an economic rebound as COVID-19 uncertainty subsides and saying that Europe has all the tools needed to overcome the crisis. Even with much of the 19-member euro area in lockdown, Lagarde continued to forecast a recovery, provided that economic restrictions can be lifted from the second quarter and the bloc can overcome a “laborious” start to vaccinations. The ECB last month cut its 2021 growth forecast to 3.9% but increasingly widespread curbs on movement and activity in countries including Germany and France, along with the slow rollout of vaccines, are already challenging that outlook. “I think our last projections in December are still very clearly plausible,” Lagarde said in an interview at the Reuters Next conference. “Our forecast is predicated on lockdown measures until the end of the first quarter.” The ECB said on Dec. 10 that its forecasts assumed “sufficient” levels of herd immunity before the end of 2021. “What would be a concern would be that after the end of March those member states ...read more...