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Germany has slashed its economic growth forecast for this year, the economy ministry said on Wednesday, predicting the coronavirus pandemic would plunge Europe's largest economy into the deepest recession in its post-war history.

The government cut its estimate for gross domestic product growth in 2020 to -6.3% from +1.1% predicted in January, the ministry said. It expects the recession to bottom out in the second quarter and economic activity to pick up again after that.

For 2021, the government expects the economy to rebound with an expansion rate of +5.2%. The forecasts are based on the assumption that authorities can gradually unwind lockdown measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.