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EU hails growth but warns of uncertainty in UK over Brexit

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union said Thursday that the bloc’s economic recovery is continuing, with steady growth expected this year and next, though it warned of uncertainty in Britain due to its departure from the bloc.

In its spring economic forecast, the European Commission said that economic growth among the countries using the euro currency would reach 1.7 percent this year and 1.8 percent in 2018. Growth in the full 28-nation EU is set to remain constant at 1.9 percent both years.

Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici welcomed the fact that Europe is entering its fifth year of growth and “that the high uncertainty that has characterized the past 12 months may be starting to ease.”

But he warned that “the euro area recovery in jobs and investment remains uneven. Tackling the causes of this divergence is the key challenge we must address in the months and years to come.”

In Britain, growth is set to ease and inflation rise, with business investment predicted to stagnate as companies remain unsure about the future ahead of Britain’s EU exit in March 2019.

“Measures of investment intentions from recent surveys are soft and businesses are expected to defer investments in the face of uncertainty relating to the negotiations regarding the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU,” the forecast said.

Britain’s growth is expected to reach 1.8 percent in 2017 but will weaken due to fading household consumption as disposable income is squeezed by prices rising faster than wages.

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