BERLIN (AP) _ Germany's economy will stage only a feeble comeback next year, the International Monetary Fund forecast Wednesday.

Growth of 3 percent in 2000 will drop to 0.7 percent this year and rise to 1 percent next year, the IMF said in a report lowering its expectations for Europe's largest economy.

The IMF's latest prediction was more pessimistic than the German government's current forecast, issued Oct. 25, that the economy will expand by 0.75 percent this year and by 1.25 percent next year.

The new forecast was the latest sign that the global economic slowdown already evident before the September terror attacks in New York and Washington has deepened since, as companies shed thousands of workers and consumers tighten their belts.

For Germany, ``the prospects for recovery are heavily dependent on a pickup in business confidence and global growth, and the outlook has been further clouded by the uncertain effects of the terrorist attacks,'' the fund said.

As recently as Sept. 26, the IMF was predicting that German growth would accelerate from 0.8 percent this year to 1.8 percent in 2002.

Nevertheless, the IMF said falling inflation, German tax cuts earlier this year and recent European Central Bank interest rate cuts had improved the short-term economic outlook for Germany, the euro-zone's largest economy.

``Barring further setbacks, a recovery should start in the first half of 2002,'' it said, adding that stable prices are creating ``welcome room for further monetary policy easing.''

The ECB is widely expected to reduce its benchmark rate at a regular meeting Thursday.