“Trade with China prevents the German economy from sliding even deeper into an export valley. This can be described as a highlight in the German export sky, in an otherwise rather gloomy economic environment, "said the foreign trade director of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), Volker Treier, the newspapers of the Funke media group (Wednesday editions).
China is Germany's most important trading partner: in 2019, goods and services worth 96 billion euros were exported and 110 billion euros imported. German car manufacturers in particular can breathe a sigh of relief. "Exports in the automotive sector, especially in the case of commercial vehicles, are going well again," said Treier. For many of the German premium manufacturers, the Chinese market is the most important in the world.
VW sells 40 percent of its vehicles in China, Daimler sells 26 percent and BMW 24 percent, reports the Funke newspapers. In the chemical industry and in the pharmaceutical sector, exports are also "satisfactory" again, according to Treier. With industrial production and retail sales, two important economic indicators in China developed better than expected in August. The production in the industry had increased in August compared to the previous year by 5,6 percent, said the statistics office on Tuesday in Beijing.
Retail sales rose 0,5 percent in August after falling 1,1 percent in July. For 2020, the DIHK is expecting a decline in China exports of two to three percent: "Then we would have got away with a black eye," said Treier. That would be a much less dramatic result than for exports worldwide, in which the DIHK expects a decline of twelve to 13 percent. The local businesses also smell the morning air.
"The mood of German companies in China is cautiously optimistic," said Jens Hildebrandt, managing director of the German Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, the Funke newspapers. "Many companies have been talking about a bombastic development in the last few months, some of which is even better than a year ago." However, the trees do not grow into the sky. "There are concerns among the machine and system manufacturers," said DIHK foreign trade chief Treier.
These suffered particularly from the worldwide travel restrictions due to Corona. Another fear is rampant among German companies in China. "Because of the trade conflict with the USA, China is trying to make itself more independent of supplies from abroad - including Germany," warns Treier. That is why German companies tried to find suppliers in China.
The reason that the economy in China is picking up again is a tough lockdown. In the spring, several million of the 1,4 billion Chinese were stuck in their apartments for weeks. Infections have not occurred in most areas of China for months. As soon as isolated infection clusters form, as was the case recently in the western province of Xinjiang, the authorities react with sharp measures. Even after a few dozen people were infected, entire city districts were closed, people locked in their housing estates.