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Business

European Central Break Upbeat for Future

The European Central Bank on Thursday raised its economic growth forecast for the 12 nation euro zone and moved to keep interest rates steady at record lows as it waits for the recovery to firm up. Conditions "for the continuation of the recovery remain in place" and although high oil prices have slightly boosted inflation, consumer price levels are expected to stay within the bank's expectations in the medium term, ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said at the bank's headquarters in Frankfurt. "We expect the economic recovery in the euro area to continue and to become more broadly based over the coming quarters, leading to a somewhat stronger upswing in the course of 2005," Trichet told a news conference after the bank's governing council decided to keep the key refinancing rate at its low two percent.