The downward trend in the financial crisis is easing and national economic stimulus packages are starting to work, billionaire investor George Soros was quoted as saying by a German newspaper on Monday.

Soros also told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily that Asia would be the first region to pull out of the crisis and China was set to overtake the United States as the engine of world growth.

The economic freefall has been stopped, the collapse of the financial system averted. National economic stimulus programs are starting to take effect. The downward dynamic is easing, Soros told the newspaper.

I expect the recovery to make up for around half of the downturn we have had and then to move into stagnation, Soros said. Asia will be first to find out of the crisis, but America is also currently doing that.

Soros said the U.S. dollar was already weak, adding: I don't expect the dollar to lose much value against the euro, on the contrary.

Soros said the financial crisis had shown that it was a big advantage for weak countries to be part of the euro system.

But the crisis should motivate Germany as the strongest country to make proposals for a more efficient euro system. I am missing leadership from the German government on this, Soros said.

Germany should no longer reject the issuance of European Union bonds, he said.

(Reporting by Kerstin Gehmlich and Madeline Chambers, editing by Mike Peacock)