The German government expects economic growth of up to 4% this year, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Thursday, raising the official forecast as Europe’s top economy roars back.
“Germany resisted the recession better than many predicted, growth fell less than in many countries and the recovery started earlier,” Altmaier told reporters.
The election-year good news for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s right-left government comes just weeks after Berlin had lifted its growth projection for 2021 to 3.5%.
Altmaier said recent data made him even more optimistic, calling it “possible that growth will come in somewhere between 3.5% and 4%”.
Massive stimulus packages unleashed by the European Union and Germany itself have helped blunt the most severe effects of the pandemic.
Read more: Economy on solid growth path: experts
The upturn comes after Germany posted a 4.9% contraction in 2020, the worst economic report card since the financial crisis of 2009.
Germany’s economy had a rough first quarter of 2021, shrinking by 1.7% as rising coronavirus infections forced shutdowns to be extended.
The weak start to the year stood in stark contrast with a 0.5% expansion in gross domestic product (GDP) recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020, before more contagious virus variants upended Germany’s bounce-back.
But recent progress in the country’s vaccination campaign and a gradual relaxation of restrictions have fuelled hopes of a swift rebound.
Germany is to go to the polls on September 26 to pick a successor to Merkel, who is retiring from politics after 16 years in office.
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