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The responses from 4,500 member companies of the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad, delegations and representative offices (AHKs) in the AHK World Business Outlook for the spring of 2019 show that only 24% of German companies active worldwide expect their host country’s economy to improve. By contrast, 27% expect the local economy to deteriorate. This is the first time since the beginning of the DIHK survey series that the “better and worse” evaluations yield a negative value.

“Skepticism toward growth is spreading in many industrial nations in particular,” says DIHK foreign trade manager Volker Treier, outlining the development. “This is likely to indirectly weaken demand for German machinery, cars and services.” According to Treier, that explains why the DIHK lowered its growth forecast for German exports “to a meagre 1%” this year. Apparently the main reasons for the deterioration are uncertainties arising from new trade conflicts, the introduction of customs duties and new sanctions, and the planned Brexit. Survey respondents for the first time included trade barriers or the favoring of domestic companies among the top 5 risks they see for the further development of their international business in the coming twelve months.