BERLIN: Germany's government has cut its predicted growth rate for Europe's largest economy in 2009, from 1.2% to 0.2%, with the exact level of decline said to depend on the vacillations of the financial crisis. 

The country's economics minister, Michael Glos, opines: "We are seeing the first downward movements in the business cycle. There is no point painting the picture rosier than it is."

In the annual autumn report issued by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Germany's leading economists made a similar prediction, while also warning that the "worst case scenario" for next year is negative growth of 0.8%.

Guy Quaden, a member of the European Central Bank's governing council, is a little more optimistic regarding the prospects of the Eurozone as a whole, but did suggest inflation may slow.

He says: "Expectations regarding economic activity have rapidly deteriorated over the last two months and the upward inflationary pressures have eased."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff