Germany says economy may grow 4% this year as pandemic eases

BERLIN (AP) — A senior official says the German economy, Europe’s biggest, may grow up to 4% this year as the coronavirus pandemic recedes. The economy minister’s comments Thursday marked the anniversary of the government’s agreement on a stimulus package to help kick-start the economy. Other aid packages have helped keep companies above water during months of closures, while extensive use of a short-term salary support program has kept workers on payrolls and unemployment in check. Last year, Germany’s gross domestic product shrank 4.9%. Coronavirus restrictions are being eased across Germany as infection figures have fallen sharply and the vaccination campaign has accelerated.