Oct 8, 5:46 AM EDT

German economic experts lower 2015 forecast amid sluggish world growth; exports down in August

Latest Business News
UAW leaders approved richer contract with Fiat Chrysler after members reject previous one

How the Dow Jones industrial average and other major indexes fared on Friday

Alcoa, Gap, Horizon Pharma, United Continental and Ascena are big market movers

2 Fed officials still foresee a rate hike this year but say any decision will depend on data

Figures on government spending and debt

A district summary of the Beige Book
Measuring economic stress by county nationwide
Mall malaise: shoppers browse, but don't buy
Unemployment by the numbers
Family struggles with father's unemployment
Saying an affordable goodbye
Hard times hit small car dealer
Latest Economic News
Puerto Rico's administration to restructure Education Department amid economic crisis

Under Clinton plan, bad behavior by Wall Street would trigger prosecutions and prison terms

Egypt's foreign currency reserves fall as devaluation widely seen as inevitable

Bank of England keeps interest rates unchanged amid concerns about global economy

German economic experts lower 2015 forecast amid sluggish world growth; exports down in August

New York comptroller: Wall Street profits hit $11.3 billion in first half of 2015; jobs added

IMF expects world economy to register slowest growth since 2009, sees risk in emerging markets

US services sector expands at slower pace in September as sales, new orders weaken

World Bank trims East Asia growth forecasts on risks from China slowdown, US rate increase

Job growth in retail and professional services accelerated in September, bucking overall trend

Buy AP Photo Reprints
Greece's Debt Threatens to Spread
State budget
gaps map
Auto industry problems trickle down, punish Tennessee county
Women give old Derby hats a makeover in tough economy
S.C. town deals with highest unemployment in South
How mortgages were bundled and sold as securities
Tracking the $700 billion financial bailout
Tracking the year's job losses
State-by-state foreclosures since 2007
Credit crisis explained
Presidents and their economic legacies
Lexicon of the financial crisis
Americans' addiction to debt
Berlin Wall: 20 Years Later

BERLIN (AP) -- A group of German economic think-tanks lowered their 2015 growth forecast for the country's economy on Thursday, pointing to sluggish global expansion.

The group of four institutes said they expect Europe's biggest economy to grow by 1.8 percent this year - down from the 2.1 percent prediction in April. They left their forecast for 2016 unchanged at 1.8 percent.

Despite the downgrade, Germany's economy is set to grow faster this year than the 1.6 percent it recorded last year. Growth is being driven by private consumption and a gradual pickup in investment, the institutes said.

The export outlook is less upbeat, though, and for an economy hugely reliant on selling its goods and services abroad that is a problem.

The institutes said exports will gain only slightly this year and next as a result of the "moderate expansion of the global economy" and the gradual ebbing of the effect of a cheaper euro - the fall in Europe's single currency over the past year or so has been a potential boon to German exports.

Germany's unemployment rate should drop from an average 6.7 percent in 2014 to 6.4 percent this year, before ticking up to 6.5 percent next year as a result of asylum seekers who have arrived in recent months seeking jobs, the think-tanks said.

Ahead of the group's forecast, official figures Thursday showed that German exports dropped 5.2 percent in August from the month before. Despite the decline, the Federal Statistical Office said exports were 5 percent higher than a year earlier.

The agency said imports fell a monthly 3.1 percent and that as a result Germany's trade surplus narrowed to 19.6 billion euros ($22.1 billion euros) from 22.8 billion euros. The figures follow disappointing August factory orders and industrial production figures.

ING-DiBa economist Carsten Brzeski said there was "no reason to panic" and pointed to large export and industrial production declines in the same month last year as a result of the timing of summer vacations. The German economy "should rebound" in September, he said.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.