Sentiment among exporters was no longer as good as it was at the beginning of the war

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Despite the improved prospects, the federal government expects a difficult year for German exporters.

(Photo: IMAGO/Chris Emil Janssen)

Berlin The mood among German exporters is better than it has been for almost a year. The barometer for export expectations climbed by 2.3 to 4.3 points in January, as the Munich Ifo Institute announced on Thursday in its survey of 2,300 industrial companies. The fourth straight rise was the highest level since February 2022, when Russia’s war against Ukraine began. “German exporters are hoping for new momentum at the beginning of the year,” said Ifo President Clemens Fuest, summarizing the results of the survey.

The food and beverage industry is now even anticipating significant increases in exports in the coming months. Optimism has also returned to the chemical industry: after the last six months of pessimistic expectations, many companies are now assuming that they will be able to increase their exports. “The automotive industry is also expecting higher foreign sales,” said Fuest. “However, she is assuming a noticeably less strong increase than in the two previous months.”

There is currently little momentum among German machine builders. According to the Ifo researchers, entrepreneurs are more likely to expect steady export business. The companies in the metal industry are even assuming declining foreign sales. According to the information, the same applies to the furniture industry.

Despite the improved prospects, the federal government expects a difficult year for German exporters. Exports are expected to grow by just 2.2 percent in 2023, slower than 3.2 percent in 2022 and 9.7 percent in 2021, according to the annual economic report. “The subdued development of the global economy is initially dampening the prospects for German exporters on the international sales markets,” says the report presented by Economics Minister Robert Habeck.

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