"2013 has the potential to be a good year for the economy," said martin wansleben, chief executive of the german chamber of industry and commerce (DIHK), in berlin. There the DIHK presented its new economic survey on tuesday.
More than 28,000 companies from the SME sector were surveyed for the study. The proportion of pessimists fell from 22 to 18 percent compared with the fall. Around 62 percent of companies (fall: 60) expect their business to continue as before over the next few months. 20 percent believe sales will improve, up from 18 percent in the fall.
The DIHK confirmed its growth forecast from the fall for the current year of 0.7 percent. The federal government expects only 0.4 percent. 2014 could be much better, business believes. But: "you have to be careful not to shout too early!", said wansleben.
Many investments put on hold in the winter of 2012 are now being made good. Helping the labor market. Employment continues to rise, by an annual average of 150,000 jobs. "The job engine is running smoothly again this year, but at a lower speed," stressed DIHK chief economist alexander schumann.
Companies see high energy and raw material prices as the main threat to the upswing. In the reform of the eco-electricity requirement, the industry therefore wants to aggressively defend its bonus. The exemptions for companies that consume a lot of electricity are an important location factor in competition with the USA. Individual proposals by environment minister peter altmaier (CDU) are correct, but could be supplemented by a moderate reduction or abolition of the electricity tax, wansleben explained.
Confidence grows among exporters as economy in euro crisis countries picks up slightly. 30 percent of industrial companies with strong foreign business now rely on better deals, compared with 27 percent in the fall.
Because almost 40 percent of exports go to the euro countries, the companies are relaxed about the harbingers of a possible "war of truth" between the industrialized nations. "We do not see any direct threat to german exports at the moment," said chief economist schumann. A strong euro relieves the burden on companies when purchasing raw materials and parts from abroad.
From the point of view of the economy, aid worth billions for cyprus should only be given if the small euro country takes consistent action against money laundering and mafia networks. But help is needed because a "tattered europe" is dangerous. Decision on cyprus aid expected in march.
In the case of the banks, the DIHK warned against cutting off the banks’ ability to lend to the economy by imposing overly strict european regulations. "The whole regulation is aimed at making money lending more expensive," said wansleben.