• Berlin ups growth forecast for 2017 – report

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    FRANKFURT: The German government will on Wednesday slightly raise its economic growth forecast for 2017, local media reported, stretching out a run of good news for Europe’s largest economy.

    Economy minister Brigitte Zypries will predict expansion of 1.5 percent this year and 1.6 percent in 2018 when she presents the forecasts, news agency DPA reported Tuesday citing government sources.

    The updated forecast is a slight increase over January’s predictions of 1.4 percent this year and 1.6 percent next year.

    Berlin’s take on the outlook has brightened in step with the views of Germany’s leading economic think tanks, which earlier this month made the same update to their forecast for 2017 but were more upbeat for next year with a 1.8-percent prediction.

    At the time, the five institutes said that robust consumer demand thanks to low unemployment at home was countering the effects of external risks—such as Brexit and the new American administration under Donald Trump—weighing on activity.

    Germany’s economy grew at 1.7 percent in 2015 and 1.9 percent in 2016, while a smaller number of working days this year has led observers to expect a slowdown.

    But economic indicators including industrial orders and production have been pointing upwards in the first months of the year, although not as sharply as suggested in “soft” data from surveys of business leaders, investors and consumers.

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