European stock markets mostly rose in volatile trade on Wednesday as traders digested a raft of mixed economic news for the eurozone and wider economy.
Overnight, the World Bank slashed its global economic growth forecasts and warned that rich nations' debt problems may yet spark a crisis that would eclipse the tumult of 2008.
But Germany was set to return to growth in the first quarter of 2012 after shrinking in the last three months of last year, its Economy Minister Philipp Roesler said on Wednesday, ruling out a recession in Europe's powerhouse.
Directors of the International Monetary Fund gave management the go-ahead Tuesday to begin seeking more money, amid increasing worries over the fallout from the eurozone crisis.
The Greek prime minister on Wednesday warned ahead of new debt talks with banks that private creditors reluctant to participate in a critical bond writedown for beleaguered Greece could be forced to take losses.
In European midday trade, Frankfurt's DAX 30 was up 0.50 percent to 6,364.64 points. The Paris CAC 40 rose 0.44 percent to 3,284.42 points and London's FTSE 100 was little changed at 5,694.70. Madrid was also flat and Milan up 0.29 percent.
European stock markets rallied Tuesday on news of upbeat economic data in Asian powerhouse China and surging investor confidence in the eurozone's leading economy Germany.
On Wednesday, the euro jumped to $1.2824 from $1.2737 in New York late Tuesday. The dollar fell to 76.72 yen from 76.82 yen.
"Markets continue to remain strong in the face of mounting concerns over the European debt crisis," said Simon Denham, head of trading firm Capital Spreads.
"The reality is finally dawning that Greece is most likely to default on its debts come mid- to end of March, so why isn't the market plunging?
Investors have come to terms with this eventuality and expect an orderly exit for the country, at the same time they are betting on a containment of the crisis and as long as Germany remains in the eurozone and it doesn't spread to other peripheral countries, the project might just survive," Denham added.
The World Bank projected global growth of 2.5 percent in 2012 and 3.1 percent in 2013 -- sharply lower than previous estimates of 3.6 percent for both years.
"The world economy has entered a very difficult phase characterized by significant downside risks and fragility," its twice-yearly Global Economic Prospects report said.
It also warned that "the world could be thrown in a recession as large or even larger than that of 2008/09."
In Germany, Economy Minister Roesler said he expected the country to record growth of 0.1 percent in the first quarter of 2012 after a contraction of 0.3 percent in the final quarter of last year, therefore ruling out a recession.
The minister was speaking at the presentation of the official government growth forecasts, in which Berlin downgraded its estimate for the whole of 2012 to 0.7 percent from a previous estimate of 1.0 percent.
However, after what Roesler termed a "temporary dip in growth," the German economy is likely to grow by 1.6 percent next year, driven mainly by domestic demand, said the forecasts.
"There can be no talk of recession," Roesler said.