The Federal Government does not expect the Australian economy to recover from downturn until late next year or early 2011, according to a letter penned by treasurer Wayne Swan. Swan has written to his state counterparts about the change in forecast. Standard methodology assumes that recovery would occur in the second year after a downturn. However, Swan said calculating by that method "would provide a misleading picture of the economy and budget position over the forward estimates period". An accompanying explanation by Treasury Secretary Ken Henry reads: "While the economy is expected to be recovering in 2010-11, we expect year average growth to remain below trend in that year. The standard assumption of trend would therefore tend to overstate the fiscal position in that year." Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey has expressed doubts that the government can return the budget to surplus in the remainder of their term. The Federal Budget is due for release on May 12.