German tax receipts rose in the first quarter of 2005 by 1.6 billion euros ($2 billion) to 90.4 billion, keeping the country on track to reduce its public deficit, finance ministry figures showed Friday. A ministry spokesman called it a "very positive trend," adding that "the figures for March were exactly in line with the last forecast for tax receipts issued in November." That forecast was based on economic growth this year of 1.6 percent, a figure deemed overly optimistic by many economists. The International Monetary Fund expects German growth of 0.8 percent. With the first-quarter figure meeting government estimates, Berlin remained set to reduce its public deficit below three percent of gross domestic product, the limit laid down in the European Union's Stability and Growth Pact. Germany has exceeded the limit for the past three years.