BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s DIHK Chambers of Industry and Commerce on Wednesday said it expected exports to shrink next year for the first time since the global financial crisis over a decade ago as trade disputes and Brexit uncertainty hit Europe’s largest economy.
“For our economy, with its strong industrial core, this is a huge challenge,” DIHK President Eric Schweitzer said when presenting the association’s latest business sentiment survey among more than 28,000 managers.
DIHK said it expects Germany’s annual export growth to slow to 0.3% this year from 2.1% in 2018, adding that exports are likely to shrink by 0.5% next year.
“Since the financial crisis of 2008/2009, the DIHK has not received such pessimistic replies from the companies,” Schweitzer said. He pointed out that Germany’s average export growth rate was normally around 5.5 percent.
Due to the bleak trade outlook, the DIHK cut its 2019 gross domestic product growth forecast for the German economy to 0.4% from 0.6% previously.
It forecasts GDP growth of 0.5% for 2020, adding that the increase was mainly due to an unusual high number of working days next year.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Thomas Escritt)