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Germany's IW Institute Cuts Growth Forecast

The Cologne-based IW economic institute cut its growth forecast for Europe's largest economy as it presented its bi-annual company survey in Berlin on Monday. The institute said Germany's economic growth will reach 1.5 percent at the most, less than the 1.6 percent it forecast last year after it polled 1,133 companies in western and eastern Germany from mid-March to April 8. The institute said that some 39 percent of western German companies polled by the IW expect to boost export orders this year, while companies planning to raise production this year remained unchanged at 42 percent compared with the IW's November survey. Around a quarter of the companies -- 23 percent -- polled said they plan to raise investment this year. Some 27 percent of western German companies and 36 percent of eastern German companies will reduce investment plans, the institute said.