Sluggish eurozone will hold UK back

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The eurozone economy is growing at a much slower pace than expected at this stage of a recovery, with the UK set to outstrip the troubled currency area's performance.

GDP in the eurozone is estimated to increase by only 1.5 per cent this year and 1.7 per cent in 2012, according to the latest economic forecast by the accountancy firm Ernst & Young.

They believe that a highly likely interest rate rise later this week by the European Central Bank, from 1 to 1.25 per cent, with subsequent rate rises expected later this year to try and dampen down the level of inflation, could potentially endanger the fragile economic recovery in the eurozone.

With a disappointing pace of recovery in prospect for the eurozone area, UK exporters will need to look further afield and capitalise on the growth opportunities available in the expanding emerging economies such as Brazil, India and China. Marie Diron, an economist with the EEF manufacturers' organisation, said: "We can't rely on our traditional strongholds."