FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The euro zone economy should continue to expand at a moderate and steady pace but this outlook is subject to downside risks, primarily from sluggish global growth and political uncertainty, the European Central Bank said on Thursday.

In an outlook that is largely consistent with the bank's policy statement in late October, the ECB said that consumption and employment should continue to rise and the recovery in business investment should continue beyond next quarter.

The bank's economic bulletin added that global trade remains weak but data suggest the downward trend may have bottomed out.

To read the ECB's regular economic bulletin, click on: https://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub/pdf/ecbu/eb201607.en.pdf?f92ac575bcd8d4a2c8986b1a68617fa9

(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi)