Deutsche Bank is expected to announce by Friday at the latest an update on its merger talks with Commerzbank, which are now in their sixth week, people familiar with the matter have said.

The banks are still crunching the numbers behind a possible tie-up, and the chances of striking an eventual deal are at least 50%, the people said.

Friday is significant because that is when Deutsche Bank is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings, which are likely to show a 75% decline in net profit and a 9% decline in revenue, according to a consensus forecast posted on the bank's website.

Last month, Deutsche Chairman Paul Achleitner said the banks would aim to announce more concrete steps on the merger by the time Deutsche published its earnings on 26 April.

The banks declined to comment.

The merger talks have come amid stiff resistance from unions and employees, as well as scepticism from some major investors.