German consumer confidence was unchanged in June, the latest survey by the GFK institute said today, as official figures showed Germany was in its deepest recession since World War II.

GFK's closely watched barometer of consumer sentiment was stable at 2.5 points, the institute said. It has been virtually unchanged since March as consumers wait to see if Europe's largest economy has indeed hit rock-bottom.

'At last the signs are becoming clearer that the rapid decline in the German economy has come to its end and there are hopes of a cautious stabilisation this year,' the institute said in a statement.

The data follow improved business confidence figures yesterday from the Ifo institute and cement the idea that while the worst is probably over for Europe's largest economy, any recovery will be slow and painful.

Official statistics released earlier today showed that the first three months of the year were especially miserable for the world's top exporter.

Output contracted by 3.8% compared to the last three months of 2008, the worst decline in modern German history, the Destatis statistics office said, confirming preliminary data. The contraction - the fourth in a row - was due mainly to a plunge in exports of nearly 10%.

The German government believes the economy will shrink by 6% this year before creeping back into the black next year with a measly 0.5% growth in output.