German GDP down 1.7 pct in Q1

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BERLIN, April 30 (Xinhua) -- Germany's gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021 fell -- adjusted for price, seasonal and calendar effects -- by 1.7 percent compared with the previous quarter, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) said Friday.

Following growth in the second half of last year, the "coronavirus crisis caused another decline in economic performance at the beginning of 2021", which affected household consumption in particular, while exports of goods supported the economy, the Destatis said.

Statistics show that in February, German exports to China, which remained the country's biggest trading partner for the fifth year in succession in 2020, soared 25.7 percent year-on-year to 8.5 billion euros (10.3 billion U.S. dollars).

The decline in GDP was caused by the "partial lockdown of the German economy" as well as the fact that consumers have been making planned purchases in the second half of last year, said Oliver Holtemoeller, head of the Department of Macroeconomics at the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).

As COVID-19 restrictions in Germany are still in effect, the country's GDP is expected to "recover substantially only from the third quarter of 2021 onwards, when large parts of the population will have been vaccinated," added Holtemoeller.

Despite the negative economic effect of the ongoing lockdown, the German government earlier this week raised its economic growth forecast for the entire year, expecting the GDP to rise by 3.5 percent in 2021.

Assuming that Germany could gradually ease its COVID-19 restrictions during the second quarter of 2021, a "significant recovery in the domestic economy and private consumer spending is expected," according to the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Enditem

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