© Reuters. An elderly woman wearing a face mask shops in a supermarket, after the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia decided to make wearing protective masks obligatory in shops and public transportation to fight the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
By Holger Hansen
BERLIN (Reuters) -The German government expects Europe’s largest economy to slide into recession next year, contracting 0.4% as an energy crisis, rising prices and supply bottlenecks take their toll, two sources told Reuters on Thursday, citing provisional figures.
The government has cut its growth forecast for 2022 to 1.4% from an April projection of 2.2%, the sources added. It had previously forecast growth of 2.5% for 2023.
The government also expects inflation to remain in the high single digits, at a level of 7.9% this year and 8% in 2023, the sources said, though these figures could change slightly depending on the effect of a gas price brake.
The government expects the economy to return to 2.3% growth in 2024, the sources said.
When approached for comment, an economy ministry spokesperson said Economy Minister Robert Habeck would unveil the figures next week.
“There are no final figures yet. The final work is ongoing,” the spokesperson said.
The figures tally with projections by leading economic institutes, which last month cut their forecasts for economic growth this year and slashed their 2023 projection to minus 0.4% from 3.1%.
Europe has been roiled by a gas standoff with Russia since the invasion of Ukraine in February that has left governments scrambling to secure energy supplies and cushion households from rocketing prices.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz last week set out a 200 billion euro ($197 billion) relief package that included a gas price brake and a cut in sales tax for the fuel.
German inflation was at its highest rate in more than a quarter of a century in September, driven by high energy prices, with analysts warning the worst was yet to come.
($1 = 1.0124 euros)