By Michelle Martin and Joseph Nasr
BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe’s largest economy probably shrank by 9.8% in the second quarter, its biggest decline since records began in 1970, due to the lockdown measures imposed to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, Germany’s leading institutes said on Wednesday.
That would be more than double the drop seen in the first quarter of 2009, when Germany was in the throes of the global financial crisis, the institutes said.
Germany has been in virtual lockdown for several weeks. Schools, shops, restaurants and sports facilities have closed and many firms have stopped production to help slow the spread of the disease.
“It is not unlikely that the crisis will drag on longer than expected and lead to production being frozen,” said Timo Wollmershaeuser, economist at the Ifo institute…