German government cuts 2013 growth forecast to a modest 0.4 percent

The German government has lowered its growth forecast for the country's economy, Europe's biggest, and now says it will expand by only 0.4 percent in 2013.

In October, the government had predicted growth of 1 percent for this year. But the economy hit a weak patch in the fourth quarter amid trouble elsewhere in the euro area.

Economy Minister Philipp Roesler said Wednesday that the economy will pick up after a slow winter and forecast growth of 1.6 percent for 2014.

The government's revised forecast comes a day after official data showed that the economy grew by 0.7 percent in 2012 — below the previous year's figure of 3 percent.

The new 2013 forecast puts the government in line with last month's projection by Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank.