(Adds quotes from trade group leader, engineering orders)
BERLIN Feb 8 Germany's DIHK Chambers of
Commerce raised its 2017 growth outlook in Europe's biggest
economy to 1.6 percent, helped by a strong rise in export
expectations, but warned firms worry about U.S. trade policy.
The survey of 27,000 DIHK members, published on Wednesday,
showed they expect exports to rise by 3 percent this year, up
from a forecast of 2 percent in the autumn. This was the
strongest rise in export expectations in three years.
Global trade is reviving, said the DIHK, driven by momentum
from the U.S. economy and growth in China.
Export growth could exacerbate tensions with the United
States, where top officials have criticised Germany and other
countries for devaluing their currency to gain trade advantages.
"While exporters' worries about demand from abroad wane,
more companies see a danger in the political framework for
business," said the DIHK. Firms see possible protectionist
measures from the U.S. and reciprocal steps, as well as Brexit
and currency turbulence as risks, it said.
DIHK Managing Director Martin Wansleben told a news
conference Britain's vote last June to leave the European Union
had already hit business, with trade between the two countries
falling by 3 percent last year. "Trade with the United Kingdom
has already suffered a significant blow," he said.
In the autumn, the DIHK survey put economic growth
expectations for 2017 at 1.2 percent for this year.
Possible plans by U.S. President Donald Trump to introduce
protectionist measures had not yet affected German order books,
Separately, the VDMA industry association reported that
engineering production fell by 0.2 percent in 2016, according to
preliminary data compiled by the German federal statistics
VDMA's chief economist Ralph Wiechers said investors had
grown more sceptical in the second half of the year, quashing
hopes for an improvement.
(Reporting by Gernot Heller; Writing by Madeline Chambers and
Andrea Shalal; Editing by Paul Carrel and Tom Heneghan)