Germany faces big H1 growth hit, H2 recovery possible - minister

German economy and finance ministers speak on coronavirus impact, in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German economy faces a major setback in the March-May period but there is still a chance it could make up some of that lost ground in the second half of the year, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told the Rheinische Post newspaper.

"The impact will be very noticeable in the months of March, April and May," Altmaier told the paper. "In the second half of the year, we still have the chance for recovery and catch-up effects."

But the outlook was clouded by uncertainty.

"The corona crisis is hitting the United States, one of our most important trading partners, much harder than previously assumed," he said, adding that Germany would need economic programmes after the crisis to stimulate growth.

"However, these will not be classic economic stimulus packages with a flash in the pan, but rather astute structural incentives for investment and innovation," said Altmaier, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU).

(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)