World Economy

Germany Logs Higher GDP, Budget Surplus

Germany Logs Higher GDP, Budget SurplusGermany Logs Higher GDP, Budget Surplus

Germany’s public finances were back in the black in 2014, when Europe’s biggest economy clocked up a surplus equivalent to 0.6% of overall output, official data showed Tuesday.

The combined budgets of the German government, regional states, municipal authorities and welfare system showed an overall surplus of €18 billion ($20.3b), the federal statistics office Destatis calculated, RTE said.

It was the first time since unification in 1990 that Germany’s public finances have been in the black.

The surplus represented 0.6% of the country’s overall gross domestic product (GDP) of €2.904 trillion, Destatis said.

In 2013, Germany had achieved a balanced budget in its public finances.

The 2014 surplus resulted from the difference between revenues of €1.294 trillion and expenditure of €1.276 trillion, the statisticians said.

The German government budget alone showed a surplus of €11.4 billion, compared with a deficit of €4.5 billion a year earlier.

The regional states’ finances also swung to a surplus of €1.9 billion in 2014 from a deficit of €2.8 billion in 2013.

The municipal authorities turned in a surplus of €1.3 billion and the welfare budget showed a surplus of €3.4 billion, Destatis said.

Under eurozone rules, member states are not allowed to run up public deficits in excess of 3% of GDP and are obliged to bring their budgets into balance or surplus in the medium term.

  Trust Diminishes

Support among the German population for a controversial trade deal between the European Union and the United States has diminished significantly in recent months.

According to a survey published Monday by German pollsters Emnid, just 39 percent of respondents were willing to describe the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as “a good thing.”

A similar poll carried out in October for the consumer protection organization Foodwatch had estimated support for the TTIP among Germans at 48 percent. Those who said they were explicitly against the free-trade deal stood at 40 percent in Monday’s survey, with one in five unwilling to express an opinion either way.

A breakdown of the figures according to political views shows that left-leaning Social Democrats are slightly more likely to favor the deal than conservative Christian Democrats, 51 percent versus 48 percent.

In Germany’s “grand coalition” government, the Social and Christian Democrats share power. Hostility to the deal is stronger among the opposition parties: 81 percent of the hard-left Die Linke are against, 57 percent of the populist Alternative for Germany and 47 percent of Greens.