By Linda Young

Berlin, Germany

Germany says it expects slower growth next year because of anticipated lower demand for the nation's exports.

Government officials cut the growth forecast for 2012 by nearly half, to 1 percent, from the previous prediction of 1.8 percent.

The government also reduced the growth forecast for 2011 to 2.9 percent from the 3 percent it predicted in April. That compares to the 3.7 percent growth Germany had in 2010.

Germany is the world's second-largest exporter behind China. However, the eurozone debt crisis, coupled with global economic woes, has slowed world demand.

As Europe's largest economy, Germany has been the region's economic engine. Slower growth in the German economy will make it more difficult for Europe to escape falling into another recession.

Under the definition of some economists, a recession is technically two consecutive quarters of negative growth or contraction.

Germany's leading economic institutes last week forecast dismal growth of virtually nothing, with economists saying that they expected growth would drop to almost zero in the last quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012.

World - Germany Cuts Growth Forecasts | Global Viewpoint