June 1, 2017 / 12:40 PM / a year ago

German trade surplus would be smaller without ECB stimulus: Schaeuble

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble takes part in a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium March 20, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BERLIN (Reuters) - The euro exchange rate is too low for the German economy’s competitiveness and Germany’s trade surplus would be only half as large without the European Central Bank’s loose monetary policy, the German Finance Minister said on Thursday.

“Moreover, our current account surplus, which is really the source of the international debate, has to do with an exchange rate which is too low for the competitiveness of the German economy,” Wolfgang Schaeuble said at a Europe conference.

“For the overall competitiveness of the euro zone, it may be all right,” Schaeuble said, adding that the euro exchange rate was also on the rise.

“With an exchange rate, as we had before the ultra-loose monetary policy, the German balance sheet would be only half as high,” Schaeuble added.

He added that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was right to say that Germany must invest more. But the problem was not a lack of public funds in Germany to finance investment but rather bottlenecks in planning capacity for example in construction, Schaeuble said.

Reporting by Michael Nienaber, editing by Thomas Escritt

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