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VIENNA, March 23 (Reuters) - The Austrian National Bank (ONB) has raised its forecast for the average inflation rate in Austria this year to 2 percent from 1.5 percent, citing energy as the main driver behind the current trend of accelerating price increases.
"In the current ONB inflation forecast of March 2017, an average HICP inflation rate of 2.0 percent is expected," the central bank said in a statement on Thursday, referring to the harmonised index of consumer prices. It expects the HICP to rise 1.7 percent next year. (Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Kirsti Knolle)