ECB's outlook upbeat despite new lockdowns: Lagarde

Only last month, the ECB predicted economic growth of 3.9% this year in the bloc of 19 countries that share the euro, assuming a gradual end to the pandemic.

But resurgent COVID-19 cases and increasingly widespread curbs to movement and activity in countries including Germany and France, along with the slow rollout of vaccines, are already challenging that outlook, just two weeks into 2021.

Lagarde stuck to the ECB's forecasts on Wednesday, however, saying they incorporated some restrictions.

"I think our last projections in December are still very clearly plausible," Lagarde said in an interview at the Reuters Next conference. "Our forecast is predicated on lockdown measures until the end of the first quarter."

The ECB said on Dec. 10 that its forecasts assumed "sufficient" levels of herd immunity would be reached before the end of 2021.

Lagarde conceded that early vaccinations had been "laborious" and that was a risk to look out for.