Sentiment among German exporters fell in September to its lowest since the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic as the slowing global economy dampens any expectations of growth in the medium term, the Ifo economic institute said on Tuesday.

Export expectations dropped to -6.0 in September from -2.8 in August, the lowest since May 2020, it said.

"Export expectations are negative in most manufacturing industries," said Ifo President Clemens Fuest, although beverage producers are tending towards optimism again, and the automotive industry expects a fourth-quarter rise in exports.

Exports from Europe's largest economy decreased 2.1% in July from the previous month, hit by sinking demand from Germany's two most important trade customers, China and the United States. (Reporting by Miranda Murray; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)