The euro zone economy is "flying on one engine," according to the chief European economist at ratings agency Standard and Poor's, which trimmed its growth and inflation forecasts for the euro zone.
In his latest report on Wednesday, S&P's Chief European Economist Jean-Michel Six likened the 19-country euro zone to a plane "flying on one engine" and "fighting for altitude" and said that while there are reasons to hope that the economy will pick up altitude, a "pre-crisis flight path" of robust growth is not likely.
Speaking to CNBC shortly after the report was published, Six said that a particular worry for Europe was foreign demand for its goods when the euro was strong. The euro is currently trading at 1.1327 against the dollar after the greenback fell back after dovish comments by Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen on Tuesday.
Six said the strength of the euro concerned him in two ways.
"First of all, on the inflation side it is a concern because obviously until recently the euro was used by the ECB as one tool to try and lift imported inflation: a weaker currency means imported inflation is higher but that's no longer happening."
"The second thing (that concerns me) is export competitiveness. The euro we are looking at today is expensive, it's strong, it's probably too strong," he said.