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EU Cuts Economic Forecast in Half

The European Commission has cut its economic forecast for this year in half, saying the euro zone would grow by only about 0.5 percent. Released on Wednesday, the report acknowledged the continuing weakness plauging the economy in the 12 countries sharing the euro. The news follows a statement from the Commission on Tuesday that said the European economy shrank in the second quarter of this year, only the second time the region's performance has been so dismal since the euro was introduced in 1999. Analysts are pessimistic of the euro zone’s chances of recovery in the last 3 months of the year. "2003, forget about it," Audrey Childe-Freeman, an economist at CIBC World Markets in London, told the Financial Times Deutschland. "Even in 2004 it might take a while for a stronger recovery to show itself."