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Its economy won’t bounce back to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2022 after a dramatic plunge in output of 6.5 percent this year, the five-member German Council of Economic Experts said. They described the recovery as taking the shape of a “pronounced V”. They said the economy would witness an upswing in the second half of this year as lockdown restrictions are slowly lifted.
The panel said Europe’s largest economy is still expecting its biggest postwar recession, but much milder than forecast for other countries on the Continent.
Growth is expected to reach 4.9 percent by next year as the economy continues to show signs of improvement.
However, unemployment levels are forecast to continue rising this year until showing gradual signs of falling in 2022.
The economic experts said data had revealed the impact of the coronavirus measures on travel, business and social contacts.
Those restrictions hit hardest in April and are now slowly being loosened as the number of new infections has fallen.
Germany is particularly susceptible to the global slowdown because it is a major export, the experts warn.
As part of their analysis of the European Union’s single currency bloc, they said it should expect a drop of 8.5 percent this year.
The forecast is much sharper than the 7.75 percent slump predicted by the Brussels-based European Commission.
But the economic experts believe Germany will avoid a second slump due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Lars Field, head of the panel, said he thought a second wave of coronavirus infections with a second lockdown could be avoided.
But his prediction comes after German authorities imposed a local lockdown following an outbreak at a meat factory.
Social contacts were once again restricted after an outbreak of coronavirus at a meat-processing factory in the western city of Gutersloh.
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Armin Laschet, prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, announced that he was reimposing restrictions on the city and its surrounding district.
He described it as a response to the “biggest outbreak” of COVID-19 that German has seen.
More than 1,550 employees at the facility, owned by Tonnies, in Rheda-Wiedenbruck have tested positive for the disease.
Authorities said the lockdown would initially be in place for a week.
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Mr Laschet said by June 30 there would be more clarity about the extent to which coronavirus had spread among people who don’t work at the factory.
He added that local testing programmes have been expanded as around 7,000 employees of Tonnies are in quarantine.
Schools and nurseries in the affected area have also been closed.
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