Economist: Material shortage takes economic recovery momentum

Released on 11.10. 2021

  • There are delivery problems not only with microprocessors. Steel, aluminum, copper, plastics and wood are also in short supply. Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd

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Every fourth medium-sized company in Germany cannot meet its delivery dates due to a lack of material. Others have to reject customers.

Frankfurt / Main (dpa) – According to a survey, almost every second medium-sized company in Germany is struggling with the consequences of delivery bottlenecks.

The bottlenecks «affect small and medium-sized companies enormous stones on their way out of the Corona crisis ”, reported KfW chief economist Fritzi Köhler-Geib. The manufacturing and construction industries are most affected, but trade and service providers are also affected. “That takes the momentum of the economy that has just picked up again,” said the chief economist of the state development bank.

According to the survey under 2400 small and medium-sized companies with a turnover of a maximum of 61 million euros annually fight 48 Percentage of the around 3.8 million medium-sized companies with the consequences of delivery problems. Every fourth company feels compelled to adjust the prices for its own products or services due to the increased costs of raw materials and intermediate products. According to the survey, price increases are most common in the construction industry (61 percent).

Around every fourth medium-sized company is said to be unable to meet delivery dates, and every tenth even has to reject orders because there is a lack of material. This is particularly a problem in the construction industry. According to the survey, every fifth company is forced to turn away customers.

Difficulties do not only exist with microprocessors. Steel, aluminum, copper, other metals, plastics and packaging materials as well as wood for the construction and furniture industries are also in short supply. Many companies had reduced their capacities during the Corona crisis and are not able to react so quickly to the resurgent demand. In addition, there are traffic jams at ports and trade disputes.

SMEs do not expect the delivery bottlenecks to end quickly. Only 5 percent of the companies affected assume that the situation will ease by the end of the year. “It should take some time until the delivery bottlenecks resolve,” said Köhler-Geib. “But I assume that the material shortage will at least ease somewhat over the coming months.” Catch-up effects could then provide an impetus for a new growth spurt in the coming year.

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