German slump could be deeper than forecast, says economy minister

FILE PHOTO: German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier briefs the media about the "rescue package" for German airline Lufthansa at the economy ministry in Berlin, Germany May 25, 2020. Markus Schreiber/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s economic downturn this year could be even sharper than previously expected, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Tuesday.

The government’s latest forecast is for Europe’s largest economy to shrink by 6.3% in 2020, its biggest post-war slump, as the coronavirus pandemic has paralyzed large swathes of the economy for months.

But Altmaier told a business forum hosted by Bitkom, the industry association for the information technology sector: “I don’t rule out that it could be more.”

Neighboring France earlier on Tuesday revised down its forecast. Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he expected the French economy to contract by 11% this year due to the coronavirus crisis and the nationwide lockdown to contain it. Paris had previously forecast an 8% contraction.

Reporting by Christian Kraemer; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Mark Potter