The robust state of the German economy has enabled statutory social insurance funds to swell. Fresh statistical data revealed a huge surplus in the system, but experts warned there'd be a reversal of the trend soon.
Germany's ability to weather the protracted eurozone debt crisis washed an unexpectedly high amount of revenues into the country's social insurance network, the National Statistics Office (Destatis) reported on Friday.
The Wiesbaden-based agency said social insurance funds posted a surplus of 15.8 billion euros ($20.7 billion) in 2012, a gain not seen in years. "Last time we had a bigger surplus was back in 2006, with 21.3 billion euros in the black," Destatis commented.
It pointed out that the positive situation was first and foremost a result of a robust economy characterized by solid employment figures and wage hikes in many industries which had a direct impact on the size of insurance premiums.
Destatis said the number of people subject to social insurance contributions rose by 353,000 in 2012 year-on-year.
The office noted that all social insurance sectors logged positive balance sheets, including the statutory health and nursing insurance as well as the employment tax system. Last year, the pension insurance system alone increased revenues by 1.9 percent to a total of 258.8 billion euros.
But the German central bank warned the trend was unlikely to continue in the current year, and not only because of economic uncertainties. "The surplus, particularly in the pension insurance system, will decrease gradually," the Bundesbank predicted, the reason being that premiums came down to 18.9 percent of incomes at the beginning of this year, from 19.6 percent previously.
hg/slk (dpa, Reuters)