Spreading Hope Merkel Says German Economy May Be Bottoming Out

German Chancellor Angela Merkel struck an upbeat note on the economy on Monday, saying the downturn may have bottomed out. Her remark coincides with an optimistic outlook from the German engineering federation, which sees a turnaround starting in mid-2009.


Chancellor Angela Merkel at the opening of the Hanover industrial trade fair.
AP

Chancellor Angela Merkel at the opening of the Hanover industrial trade fair.

Chancellor Angela Merkel signalled on Monday that she sees light at the end of the tunnel for the German economy, saying at the opening of the Hanover industrial trade fair that the downturn may be bottoming out.

"Maybe the Hanover Fair is a little signal that we've hit the trough," Merkel told reporters as she walked around the world's largest industrial trade fair.

She said she was happy that many companies were seizing on the fair as an opportunity to display their products despite the recession, which she said last month was Germany's worst downturn since 1945.

"The companies want to emerge strengthened from this crisis and that's the climate I'm feeling here," she said.

Earlier on Monday, Germany's engineering industry federation predicted a turnaround this summer.

"We expect the downturn in new orders to end from the middle of the year," Hannes Hesse, director of the German Engineering Federation VDMA said.

Economic stimulus programs launched by countries around the world would help boost demand, he said.

cro -- with wire reports

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