Germany Survey Shows Export Risks Are Companies’ Biggest Concern

German companies see sluggish foreign demand for their goods as one of the biggest economic concerns over the next 12 months, a survey of more than 24,000 companies in Europe’s biggest economy showed.

Forty-one percent of companies polled by the industry and trade chambers’ DIHK umbrella organization said they worry most about export demand. While 30 percent of the companies expect their sales abroad to grow, 13 percent of respondents expect exports to decline.

“Burgeoning hopes for a revival of foreign business from the beginning of the year haven’t materialized so far,” the DIHK said today in an e-mailed report. “In the coming months, exports aren’t likely to grow very dynamically.”

The German economy will grow 0.3 percent this year and more than 1 percent in 2014, the DIHK said. Export growth in 2013 will slow to 2 percent from 3.7 percent in 2012, it said.

At 0.1 percent, German gross domestic product expanded less in the first quarter than the 0.3 percent forecast by economists in a Bloomberg News survey. The economy contracted 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter.

Exports, adjusted for working days and seasonal changes, rebounded 0.5 percent in March from a 1.2 percent drop in February, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said May 10. With unemployment near a two-decade low, the German economy can still rely on domestic demand.

“The poor economic conditions prevailing in many parts of the euro area and the current problems associated with the sovereign debt crisis mean that macroeconomic risks remain high,” the Bundesbank said on May 21 in its monthly report.

The euro-area economy contracted in the first three months of 2013, extending the region’s recession to a record sixth quarter. Italy’s gross domestic product shrank 0.5 percent in the three months through March, compared with the 0.4 percent drop forecast by economists.

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