German finance minister predicts crisis to last until end-2009
The financial crisis will last at least until late 2009 and it will take years for Germany to determine any costs of its rescue plan, its finance minister said in a interview to be published Sunday.
"The risk of collapse is far from over. It would be wrong to lift the alarm," Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said, offering a grim assessment of the country's financial health to the Bild am Sonntag weekly.
The 480-billion-euro (610-billion-dollar) rescue package for banks approved last week is to last through next year, "and we will certainly need it for that duration," he predicted.
"We won't know whether the rescue plan will entail real costs until between 2010 and 2013," he added.
German banks have so far been reluctant to ask for state aid under the rescue plan, with one analyst suggesting they are wary of losing autonomy and of being stigmatised by their peers.
Steinbrueck also backed off from the government's previous goal to balance the federal budget by 2011, a repositioning he adopted recently along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.