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Germany notches up record budget surplus in 2015: stats office

[FRANKFURT] Germany ran up a record surplus in its public finances in 2015, with Europe's biggest economy showing "solid and consistent" growth last year, the federal statistics office said on Tuesday.

Germany notched up an overall surplus of 19.4 billion euros (S$29.5 billion) on its public budgets last year, "which in absolute terms is the highest since unification" in 1990, the office said in a statement.

Measured against gross domestic product (GDP), the surplus amounted to 0.6 per cent of overall output, the statisticians calculated.

In 2014, Germany had achieved a surplus of 8.9 billion euros or 0.3 per cent of GDP.

Under eurozone rules, member states are not allowed to run up deficits in excess of 3.0 per cent of GDP and are obliged to bring them into balance or surplus in the medium term.

Last year was the second year in a row that Germany's public finances have been firmly in the black.

At the same time, the statistics office confirmed a preliminary estimate that the economy expanded by 0.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, the same rate of growth as in the third quarter.

"The economic situation in Germany in 2015 was characterised by solid and consistent growth," the office said.

Across the whole year, GDP grew by 1.7 per cent.

"Positive impulses came primarily from domestic demand," Destatis said.

Public spending increased by 1.0 per cent in the fourth quarter and household spending edged up by 0.2 per cent.

In addition, investment increased with construction investment expanding by 2.2 per cent over the three-month period and investment in equipment rising by 1.0 per cent, driven primarily by public investment.

By contrast, foreign trade had a dampening effect on fourth-quarter growth with exports falling by 1.7 per cent and imports slipping by 0.6 per cent, Destatis calculated.


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