WASHINGTON -- A panel of bank economists yesterday predicted that the economy would shake off its current malaise and grow moderately through the rest of this year and next, with only modest gains in inflation.

"The second half of this year will be better than the first half," said Stuart Hoffman, chairman of the American Bankers Association's Economic Advisory Committee and chief economist of PNC Bank Corp. The 11-member panel, which includes economists from Chase Manhattan Bank and First Interstate Bank Corp, released its semiannual macroeconomic forecasts at a news conference in Washington, D.C.

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