Damper for the auto industry

German companies’ export expectations deteriorated slightly in May. The auto and food industries have to cope with setbacks. In other sectors, exports continue to do very well.

Container ships at the Buchardkai Terminal and at the Eurogate (right) in the Port of Hamburg

Dhe export expectations of the German economy are stagnating at a high level. The corresponding index of the Ifo Institute fell in May by 0.9 points, as the Munich economic researchers announced on Wednesday. With a seasonally adjusted value of 23.0, however, it still has one of the highest values ​​in recent years. A year ago it was clearly in the red.

Not all industries developed in the same way. According to Ifo President Clemens Fuest, the auto industry had to deal with a “significant setback”. “At the moment hardly any new orders are expected from abroad,” said Fuest. The sub-index “motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts” fell from 28.4 to 0.2 points.

The food, textile and clothing industries are not looking good either. On the other hand, according to Fuest, exports in the electrical and mechanical engineering industries are continuing to do very well, and the furniture industry is expecting a significant increase after the most recent difficult months.

Slowed down by delivery bottlenecks

In the first quarter, exports of goods and services rose by 1.8 percent. Imports, however, increased more strongly by 3.8 percent. German exports had recently increased for eleven months in a row. In March, thanks to the global economic recovery emanating from the US and China, companies sold goods worth 126.5 billion euros – more than ever before in a month.

However, delivery bottlenecks for intermediate products such as semiconductors can slow the upswing: According to an Ifo survey, almost every second industrial company complained of bottlenecks in April. The German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) expects an increase in exports of eight percent this year. Because of the corona crisis, exports fell by more than nine percent in 2020.