German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder opened the annual Hanover industrial fair on Monday: With 7,000 exhibitors from 65 countries, this year's fair too will showcase the latest in communication, computer and home technology. Speaking during the opening ceremony, Schröder said he was optimistic about a clear economic recovery in Germany this year and said the Hanover fair confirmed it. Schröder explained it wasn't just German exports that were performing well, but also the overall investment climate as well as consumer spending. However the chancellor's optimism was rejected by the Federation of German Industry (BDI), which lowered its growth forecast for the current year. Michael Rogowski, head of the federation said on Monday at the Hanover fair that the BDI reckoned with GDP (gross domestic product) growth of between just 1.5 and 1.7 percent. Earlier the BDI had predicted 2 percent growth for 2004.