The U.S. dollar's level against the deutsche mark is hurting West Germany's industrial competitiveness, but industrialists here are divided on the long- term impact of a 1.80 deutsche mark-dollar exchange rate.
"With the low dollar, they are destroying our industry," economist Wolfgang Baumann at the Federation of West German Industries said.However, Herbert Kriegbaum of the heavily export-oriented West German
Machinery Manufacturers and Plantmakers Association, said this view was exaggerated. He said exporters have coped reasonably well with the weaker
dollar, even though orders and production are falling.
Mr. Baumann, whose federation forecast "modest" West German economic growth of about 1.5 percent in 1987, said the dollar's present level had hurt West German exporters. "If West German exporters do not do well, then we have no growth, so weaker exports cannot be good for the world economy," he said.
Mr. Kriegbaum said machine makers exported nearly 64 percent of their production in 1986. This year, the machinery manufacturers association expects price-adjusted exports to be 3 percent below the 1986 level of 69.8 billion marks, largely because of the weaker dollar.
Hans-Juergen Mueller, managing director of the West German Export Trade Federation, said some sectors were hard hit by current exchange rate levels. Industrialists in other sectors, such as chemicals and carmakers, were fairly
satisfied with current rates.