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German government advisers cut 2020 economic forecast: Funke media

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government’s panel of advisers expects Europe’s biggest economy to contract by 6-7% this year due to the coronavirus, a more pessimistic assessment than the group made in March, the group’s head told the Funke media group on Friday.

“The lockdown has taken longer and foreign trade is being hit harder than expected. We were clearly too optimistic, especially with regard to the United States,” the panel’s head, Lars Feld, told the Funke media group.

“We have to expect a decline in gross domestic product this year which will probably be between minus six percent and minus seven percent,” he said.

In March, the panel had presented three scenarios, the worst of which was for a 5.4% contraction.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition on Wednesday agreed on a bumper 130 billion-euro ($147.3 billion) stimulus package to speed up Germany’s recovery from the coronavirus.

Reporting by Madeline Chambers in Berlin; Editing by Matthew Lewis