BERLIN (Reuters) - A record number of German companies believe economies in foreign markets where they do business will improve despite rising political and trade risks, a survey published on Friday showed.
Some 40 percent of the 5,100 companies surveyed during March and April by the DIHK Chambers of Commerce and Industry said they expected positive economic developments in foreign markets over the next 12 months, the highest percentage since the survey began in 2015.
Only 10 percent said they expect economic deterioration and 50 percent forecast no change.
“Companies are seeing more barriers to trade, and political crises and economic uncertainties like Brexit are also noticeable,” DIHK said in its World Business Outlook survey.
“Nevertheless, the world economy continues to do well and the German economy is benefiting from this given its international nature.”
DIHK said conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and protectionist U.S. trade policies were sources of uncertainty for companies.
The survey was conducted at a time when a metals tariff dispute centered on the United States was in full swing.
In March, President Donald Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum, but the following month granted exemptions until June 1 to Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the EU, Australia and Argentina.
His decision on Tuesday to pull the United States out of the international nuclear deal reached with Iran in 2015 and re-impose economic sanctions risks impacting all foreign companies that do business with the Islamic Republic.
Reporting by Rene Wagner; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by John Stonestreet