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Germany secures record budget surplus

Germany's public finances have stayed in the black for the second straight year. Europe's powerhouse booked a budget surplus in 2015 that was bigger than any since the country reunited.

Germany ran up a record surplus in its finances last year, the National Statistics Office (Destatis) reported Tuesday. It said the country notched up an overall surplus of 19.4 billion euros ($21 billion) in 2015.

The figure marks the highest level in absolute terms since German unification in 1990. Measured against gross domestic product (GDP), the surplus amounted to 0.6 percent of overall output.

This compared with 8.9 billion euros in positive territory, or 0.3 percent, back in 2014, Destatis calculated.

Thus 2015 was the second year in a row that Germany's public finances had been firmly in the black, while many fellow eurozone nations were unable to meet EU deficit rules, logging fresh borrowing above the allowed 3-percent-of-GDP threshold.

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Q4 growth

Destatis also

confirmed a preliminary estimate

that the German economy expanded by 0.3 percent in the final quarter of last year. Across 2015, the economy grew by 1.7 percent.

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

In contrast, foreign trade had a dampening effect on fourth-quarter growth, with exports falling by 1.7 percent and imports slipping by 0.6 percent.

hg/bea (AFP, dpa)

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