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Merkel: No instant recovery

GERMANY appears to be close to the bottom of its economic downturn but it can't expect an instant recovery, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday.

Germany, Europe's biggest economy, went into recession last year as the crisis sapped demand for its exports.

While surveys of business and investor confidence have improved recently, forecasts remain gloomy. The country's central bank predicted this month that the economy will shrink 6.2 percent this year and stagnate in 2010.

"The drop in economic output is probably now near the bottom," Merkel said in a speech in Berlin.

However, in a reference to charts of economic performance, she added that "the crisis unfortunately will not be V-shaped," with the low point followed by an immediate recovery.

Merkel's government has put together economic stimulus packages worth some 73 billion euros (US$102 billion). Merkel faces elections in September.


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