U officials have slashed their growth forecast for the 19 countries that use the euro, saying even the reduced estimate was vulnerable to “large uncertainty”.

The EU’s executive Commission cut the forecast for this year to 1.3% from 1.9% in their earlier forecast last autumn.

The eurozone grew by an estimated 1.9% last year, slowing from a 10-year high of 2.4% in 2017.

A raft of risks could hamper the European and global economies going forward, including China’s slowdown, a trade dispute between the US and China that has created new import taxes – and the possibility that Britain could leave the European Union on March 29 in a chaotic fashion without approving a transition agreement.

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