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Brussels — Mario Draghi said persistent uncertainties and trade tensions are weighing on the eurozone, where growth has been softer than expected. The president of the European Central Bank (ECB) blamed “softer external demand and some country and sector-specific factors”, but indicated he still has some confidence in the underlying strength of the economy. “The persistence of uncertainties in particular relating to geopolitical factors and the threat of protectionism is weighing on economic sentiment,” he told lawmakers in Brussels. “At the same time, supportive financing conditions, favorable labour-market dynamics and rising wage growth continue to underpin the euro-area expansion and gradually rising inflation pressures.” A series of unexpectedly weak numbers from 19-nation region forced a change in the ECB’s language last week, with Draghi stating the risks to the growth outlook have “moved to the downside”. Culprits behind the slower momentum include weaker growth in China and...

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