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Germany

German industry survey sees growing business confidence

A survey among tens of thousands of German firms has shown most entrepreneurs in the country believe the business environment will not suffer another setback this year. Employment is also expected to rise.

The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) said on Tuesday the majority of German companies expected the economy to pick up again in 2013, following a GDP contraction in the final quarter of last year.

In its poll among 28,000 firms, the DIHK found that 82 percent of respondents predicted the business environment would improve or at least not get worse in the months ahead. Expectations in industry were higher than those in the service sector, though.

"The results of the survey show that Germany is likely to get off cheaply with regard to the current dent in global cyclical developments," the DIHK said in a statement.

Imponderables remain in place

While the mood was generally optimistic among entrepreneurs, the companies polled pointed to a number of risks and uncertainties, singling out rising energy and raw material costs as the number-one threat to future growth.

The DIHK confirmed its autumn forecast for 2013, saying gross domestic product this year would expand by 0.7 percent on the back of a 0.5-percent contraction in the final quarter of 2012, marking the steepest quarterly fall since the beginning of 2009.

The association said employment would rise slightly this year, with about 150,000 more jobs expected throughout 2013. "Many companies are indeed planning to hire more staff, but not enough to speak of a real employment boost," the DIHK said.

hg/hc (dpa, Reuters)