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Germany's Schaeuble says to use "all room for manoeuvre" on investments

[DAVOS] Germany will use all the wiggle room it has in its budget to boost public investment, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Friday.

"We will increase our investment rate in coming years again and again," Mr Schaeuble told a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"We will use all the room for manoueuvre which we have with our fiscal policy."

His comments come after Germany balanced its federal budget in 2014 for the first time in nearly half a century.

Berlin had been aiming to achieve the goal in 2015, and coalition sources have told Reuters that reaching the budget target one year early gives the government leeway to boost public investment.

Other eurozone countries like France and Italy, as well as the International Monetary Fund, have repeatedly urged Germany to use its fiscal space to boost spending on infrastructure.

In response to the pressure, Mr Schaeuble announced in November that the government would spend an extra 10 billion euros in 2016 and 2017, a figure that many economists have dismissed as insignificant.

Even if Germany tops up that amount, it is unlikely to represent much of a boost to the broader European economy. But if Germany does raise spending, it could make it easier for political leaders in Paris and Rome to argue for economic reforms at home, one of Germany's key demands.