Germany will mobilise additional $60.5bn COVID-19 aid for firms – minister

says it has the fiscal strength to mobilise further state aid of up to 50 billion euros ($60.5 billion) for companies affected by the second lock down.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said this on Thursday in a speech in parliament.

Altmaier said that this was on top of grants already paid out of roughly 80 billion euros, an additional 23 billion euros, as part of the Kurzarbeit job protection scheme, and a multi-year stimulus programme worth 130 billion euros.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has since March last year unleashed an unprecedented array of rescue and stimulus measures which helped cushion the impact of the on Europe’s largest economy.

Gross domestic product shrank by a smaller-than-expected 5% in 2020. That was surpassed in the post-war era only by the record -5.7% in 2009 during the financial crisis.

But the government slashed its GDP growth forecast on Wednesday to three per cent this year, a sharp revision from last autumn’s estimate of 4.4 per cent due to a second coronavirus lock down.

Altmaier has painted a picture of a two-speed economy in which industry continued to do well, while services are suffering under the curbs that were imposed early in November and tightened in mid-December. (Reuters/NAN)

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