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Italian central bank hikes 2023 growth forecast, cuts inflation outlook

MILAN (Reuters) - The Italian economy is expected to grow by 0.6% this year, the central bank said on Friday, slightly raising a previous forecast of 0.4% made only last month and aligning its estimate with the government's official projection.

Last year's growth in the euro zone's third largest economy will probably come in at 3.9%, the central bank said in its quarterly bulletin, nudging up a previous estimate of 3.8%.

Full-year 2022 gross domestic product data will be released by national statistics bureau ISTAT on March 1.

The Bank of Italy forecast growth of 1.2% in 2024 compared with the government's forecast of 1.9%, made in November.

Turning to inflation, the central bank said it expected Italy's EU-harmonised index to average 6.5% this year, cutting its December forecast of 7.3%.

Price growth will ease to 2.6% in 2024, the bank said.

(Alessia Pé, editing by Gavin Jones)