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ECB raises inflation projections, cut 2018 growth forecast

RIGA, June 14 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank raised its inflation forecasts for this year and next but lowered its 2018 growth projection, ECB President Mario Draghi told a news conference on Thursday. The ECB, which targets inflation at just below 2 percent, sees price growth at 1.7 percent this year and in 2019 and 2020. With oil prices up more than 60 percent since last year and the euro off its recent highs against the dollar, imported inflation has been seen rising, slowly feeding through consumer prices and even pulling underlying inflation up over time. But worries over protectionism and turbulence in several key economies has weighed on growth, forcing the ECB to trim back its growth forecasts. Economic growth this year is now seen at 2.1 percent versus an earlier forecast of 2.4 percent. The following are the ECB staff's new projections for inflation and GDP growth, with March forecasts in brackets. The ECB updates projections once a quarter.

2018 2019 2020 GDP growth 2.1 (2.4) 1.9 (1.9) 1.7 (1.7) Inflation 1.7 (1.4) 1.7 (1.4) 1.7 (1.7)

(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi in Frankfurt; Editing by Catherine Evans)