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German public debt down slightly in 2016, on target for EU limit by 2020
March 28, 2017 / 9:23 AM / 8 months ago

German public debt down slightly in 2016, on target for EU limit by 2020

BERLIN (Reuters) - German public debt fell by 0.8 percent last year, the Federal Statistics Office said on Tuesday, keeping the government on track to bring down debt to below 60 percent of economic output by 2020.

The Finance Ministry said earlier this month that it estimated the debt-to-GDP ratio to have shrunk to 68.2 percent last year from 71.2 percent in 2015.

Overall debt, which includes liabilities owned by the federal government, states, communities and social funds stood at 2.006 trillion euros (1.73 trillion pounds) at the end of 2016.

The German government wants to bring down public debt to 59.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2020, three years sooner than previous estimates as solid growth and record employment allow it to abide by EU debt rules faster.

European Union rules say countries should keep the ratio of debt to gross domestic product at no more than 60 percent or least be heading down towards that. The rules have been broken for years by Germany and other countries.

A stability programme agreed by the government last year also includes a goal of no net new debt until 2020 despite higher state spending.

Reporting by Joseph Nasr Editing by Jeremy Gaunt

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