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Business

'Five Wise Men' Cut Growth Forecast

The German economy, the biggest in the 12-country eurozone, is unlikely to grow by more than 1.0 percent this year, the new head of the government's "Five Wise Men" panel of economic advisers, Bert Rürup, said in a newspaper interview published Tuesday. In their autumn report published in November, the so-called Five Wise Men had forecast growth of 1.4 percent this year. And as recently as the end of January, Rürup had even said that growth of 1.6 percent was feasible. But Rürup told the mass-circulation daily Bild on Tuesday: "Following the slump in growth in the fourth quarter of last year, I assume that growth will only be one percent for the whole of 2005. More is not achievable in the face of high oil prices and the weak dollar. And that's much too slow to bring about any rapid reduction in unemployment." German gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by a surprise 0.2 percent in the last three months of 2004 after already stagnating during the preceding three months.

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