German businesses fear Covid-19 restrictions may stick around for another year

Companies polled by a German think tank, the Ifo Institute, foresee prolonged economic pain from the coronavirus outbreak, with some firms expecting the restrictions on public life to continue for more than a year.

The survey data published on Monday shows that businesses are expecting the pandemic-related measures to remain another 8.5 months on average. However, those working in the leisure sector, which has been hit hard by the pandemic lockdowns, have the most pessimistic forecast, expecting the restrictions to last for another 13 months.

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Firms in arts-related businesses as well as their peers in restaurants and catering do not expect the measures to be lifted for 11 months, with the outlook nearly coinciding with leather and footwear manufacturers’ expectations.

While some companies are more optimistic, none of them foresee an end to the restrictions for another half a year. For example, beverage producers’ expectations are the shortest at just over 6.4 months, followed by postal and courier companies at 6.6 months.

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Germany went into lockdown at the end of March, with tough pandemic restrictions halting most economic activities. Shortly after the country began cautiously lifting the measures in May, the economy started bouncing back. However, health authorities have recently warned about the rise in new daily infections, sparking fears of a second wave of the virus.

The coronavirus outbreak has caused record plunges in GDP in most EU countries. Europe’s largest economy, Germany, was not spared from the economic fallout of the pandemic, shrinking by 10.1 percent during the second quarter – the worst drop since quarterly GDP calculations began being compiled in 1970.

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