Mar 21, 5:59 AM EDT

German panel ups growth forecast but warns on trade war

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BERLIN (AP) -- A council of economic advisers to the German government thinks Europe's biggest economy will grow by more than it previously thought this year, while warning of the risks of a possible trade war with the U.S.

The five advisers said Wednesday they're predicting 2.3 percent growth for Germany in 2018, with the world in a "synchronized expansion phase." They'd previously predicted 2.2 percent growth in the fall - the same growth as in 2017.

Their estimate's still more conservative than the 2.4 percent predicted by the government, and the economists have warned that the recently announced U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum could potentially harm growth if they spark a trade war.

They say "a spiral of protectionist measures would have clearly negative effects on the global and German economy."

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