Market analysts expect 0.4 per cent growth from first quarter

FRANKFURT – Official figures are expected to show that the recovery in Europe is gaining strength despite worries about low inflation.

Economists expect figures Thursday from the European Union statistics agency Eurostat to show that the 18-country eurozone economy grew by a quarterly rate of 0.4 per cent in the first three months of the year.

Despite the growth, the eurozone is still suffering from high unemployment of 11.8 per cent and concerns that inflation is too low at 0.7 per cent. Low inflation makes it harder for governments to reduce debt levels.

European Central Bank head Mario Draghi has said the bank’s governing council is “comfortable” with taking further action at its June 5 meeting. That could include a cut in the bank’s benchmark interest rate of 0.25 per cent.