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AHK World Business Outlook Spring 2021

Survey by the Network of German Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AHKs)
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How is the foreign business of German companies doing? The AHKs surveyed their members

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The recovery of the global economy is gaining momentum and a majority of German companies abroad hope to make up for the losses of the past year. Almost one in two of the more than 4,500 companies surveyed by the AHKs worldwide expects an improved economy in their respective countries. Especially in China and North America, German companies expect a strong economic development in the coming twelve months.

Accordingly, more than half of the companies expect their own business to develop better in the coming twelve months. Some of the companies that put their investment and employment plans on hold last year therefore want to ramp them up again this year.

Despite the brighter mood in the global economy, however, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to pose major challenges for companies. Supply chain and logistics problems, lack of goods and services and own production losses have even worsened compared to the previous survey. Also, many companies still have to cancel or postpone investments.

Unchanged from the previous surveys, a lack of demand and uncertainty about economic policy conditions are the greatest risks for German companies abroad. The shortage of skilled workers as well as energy and raw material prices have become significantly more important. The latter have risen sharply compared to the previous survey and are putting pressure on the already tense situation in production and supply chains.

The complete survey is available here:

AHK World Business Outlook Spring 2021 (PDF, 1 MB)

About the survey

The AHK World Business Outlook is based on a regular DIHK survey of member companies of the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad, Delegations and Representative Offices (AHKs). In spring 2021, it collects feedback from more than 4,500 German companies, branches and subsidiaries worldwide, as well as companies with close ties to Germany.

41 percent of the responding companies are from the industry and construction sector, 39 percent from the service sector and another 20 percent are trading companies. Smaller companies with less than 100 employees account for 52 percent of the responses. 27 percent of the companies employ 100 to 1,000 people. Large companies with more than 1,000 employees worldwide account for 21 percent of the respondents.


Porträtfoto Carolin Herweg
Carolin Herweg Director fundamental issues of Foreign Trade and Development Policy