May 8, 2020 / 7:14 AM / 24 days ago

Coronavirus crisis is hitting demand at 60% of German firms: DIHK

BERLIN (Reuters) - Some 60% of German companies are suffering from reduced demand and 80% of firms in Europe’s largest economy expect revenues to fall this year as the coronavirus outbreak wreaks havoc, a survey by the DIHK Chambers of Commerce showed on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: The skyline with its financial district is photographed during sunset in Frankfurt, Germany, April 22, 2020, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

The poll of more than 10,000 firms found that businesses across the broad - in the industrial, construction and services sectors - see revenues dropping in 2020, with a quarter expecting a decline of more than 50%.

Some 43% of firms have faced cancelled orders and more than a third have had to slash investment.

The German government expects the pandemic to plunge the economy into its deepest recession since World War Two, forecasting a contraction of 6.3%. In January it had predicted economic output would increase by 1.1% this year.

More than a third of companies only expect to return to their previous business level in 2021 at the earliest, the DIHK survey found, while 1 in 20 firms never expects to get back to that level.

“That shows how big the challenges we’re facing are,” DIHK President Eric Schweitzer said. “We’re still a long way off our economy recovering.”

One third of restaurants and almost half of travel firms fear insolvency, the DIHK survey showed.

The number of overnight stays by domestic and foreign guests in Germany dropped by 53% on the year to 15.6 million in March, preliminary data from the Federal Statistics Office showed on Friday. That was the sharpest drop since current records began in 1992.

Germany went into lockdown in March, with shops, restaurants, sports facilities and other non-essential businesses closing and many companies halting production to help slow the spread of the virus. Some restrictions have been loosened in the last few weeks.

The DIHK suvrvey found that almost half of firms had to partly or completely stop business during lockdown.

It said a quarter of these companies re-started business when the lockdown was eased at end of April and 80% of the firms still closed expect to be able to re-start operations immediately or within next two weeks.

Reporting by Michelle Martin

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