Germany's growth in 2017 hit its strongest in six years

Germany's growth in 2017 hit its strongest in six years

The German economy expanded at the fastest pace in six years in 2017, data from Destatis showed Thursday.

Household spending rose 2 percent and government expenditure by 1.4 percent.

Germany had its fourth budget surplus in a row past year, totaling 1.2 percent of GDP, according to the report.

The same things that helped German growth in the last two years should remain in place this year, said Carsten Brzeski, an economist at ING-DiBa - low interest rates, a relatively weak euro, strong domestic momentum and a recovering eurozone economy.

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Europe's largest economy is benefiting from rising private consumption and resurgent exports buoyed by a recovery of the global economy. "Investments are needed. The next government has a big burden".

Separate statistics office data on Thursday showed the public sector as a whole posted a record surplus of 38.4bn euros in 2017, making clear just how much wiggle room the government has to trim the tax burden and increase spending.

That will feed into a heated debate among European Central Bank rate-setters, who must decide how and when to unwind their asset purchase programme as price pressures across the eurozone gradually increase. Overall, foreign trade contributed only 0.2 percentage points to last year's GDP growth.

The positive economic picture contrasts with the political deadlock in Berlin, where Merkel - weakened by a poor showing by her conservatives in a national election in September - is hoping to conclude coalition talks by the end of March to secure a fourth term in office.

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