Nearly two-thirds of German industrial companies say a British exit from the European Union would not hurt their business, a poll by the Ifo economic institute showed today. 

According to the Ifo survey, 61% of respondents said a Brexit would have no negative consequences for their business while 38% said it would cause damage. 

Larger companies, those with more than 500 employees, were more concerned, with 53% of them saying a British exit would have negative consequences for their business. 

Looking at different sectors, firms in the electronics, automobile and metals industry were most concerned while food and textile companies were the least unsettled, Ifo said. 

The head of the BGA trade association said earlier this week that German exports will grow less than expected this year due to external risks, including a British exit from the EU and uncertainties ahead of elections in the US and France - Germany's two most important trading partners. 

The UK is Germany's third most important export destination. In 2015, German companies exported goods worth some €89 billion to Britain. 

At the same time, Germany imported British goods worth some €38 billion, leaving a trade surplus of around €51 billion. 

With a total trade volume of €127.5 billion, Britain is Germany's fifth biggest trading partner behind the US, France, the Netherlands and China. 

For the UK, Germany is the most important trade partner, ahead of the US.

The DIW economic institute DIW has warned a British exit would likely lead to higher export tariffs, reducing German trade and knocking up to half a percentage point off growth in Europe's biggest economy next year.