ECB optimistic about euro zone upturn, inflation

GERMANY - The European Central Bank on Thursday again voiced confidence the euro zone economy had bottomed out and the region's growth should gradually return to full speed before the end of the year.

The ECB said in its March monthly bulletin available forecasts suggested a gradual pickup in euro zone growth that should reach its long-term potential rate of 2.0-2.5 percent by year-end and business surveys showed recovery has started early in 2002.

"The precise strength of this upturn remains u