[FRANKFURT] European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Wednesday the eurozone's economy had gained momentum since the end of 2014 and that the recovery would gradually strengthen and broaden.
Noting the small pick up in inflation to -0.1 per cent in March, Mr Draghi said that although it was likely to remain low or negative for months, "inflation rates are expected to increase later in 2015 and to pick up further during 2016 and 2017".
"While remaining on the downside, the risks surrounding the economic outlook for the euro area have become more balanced on account of the recent monetary policy decisions, the fall in oil prices and the lower euro exchange rate," Mr Draghi said.
Mr Draghi's remarks come ahead of the ECB quarterly Survey of Professional Forecasters on Thursday and follow an ECB survey earlier this week showing banks forecasting the strongest demand for company loans in over a decade.
In March, ECB staff boosted their predictions for growth in eurozone economic output to 1.5 per cent this year but said that oil prices would keep price inflation flat in 2015 before it advances towards 1.8 per cent in 2017.
ECB money printing will help accelerate recovery, with the euro at a 12-year low, buoying exporters, and borrowing in many countries cheaper than ever.