German economy to contract more sharply in second quarter than in first quarter - ministryGerman economy to contract more sharply in second quarter than in first quarter - ministry
FILE PHOTO: Aerial view of containers at a loading terminal in the port of Hamburg

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s economic output will fall further in the second quarter than in the first, the economy ministry said on Monday, warning that the recovery in the second half of the year and beyond would be sluggish.

Europe’s largest economy went into lockdown in March, with many firms halting production and shops closing. It is now facing its worst recession since World War Two after the economy contracted by 2.2% in the first quarter.

“The economic recovery phase will take time because the epidemiological risks persist and citizens and companies react to them,” the ministry said in its monthly report.

But the ministry said it looked like the trough had been passed and added that a gradual relaxation of the lockdown means the economic revival likely started from May.

The ministry said German foreign trade was likely to revive from May after exports and imports in April posted their biggest declines since records began in 1990.

But it predicted a significant decline in exports and imports for 2020 as whole.

The German government has stuck to the growth forecast it gave in April for a 6.3% contraction this year but many economic institutes have made more pessimistic predictions.

The government’s planned 130 billion euro ($146.29 billion) stimulus programme could boost economic output in Europe’s largest economy by 1.3 percentage points both this year and next, the DIW institute said last week.

($1 = 0.8887 euros)

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Michelle Martin)