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IMF Predicts Gloomy Skies Over Europe

EUROPE'S severe economic downturn is likely to last until the second half of next year and could persist for longer if governments don't do more to shore up fragile financial institutions and coordinate their response to the recession, the International Monetary Fund said yesterday.

In its latest update for Europe, the IMF continues to forecast that the 16 national economies that use the euro currency will shrink by 4.2 percent this year alone, with Germany - the euro zone's biggest economy - contracting by a massive 5.6 percent as demand for its high-value exports collapses.

Next year, the IMF said the euro zone is likely to shrink by 0.4 percent, with Germany falling by another 1 percent.


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