German official public deficit at 3.5 percent in 2010

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The German public deficit widened to 3.5 percent of output last year, provisional figures released on Wednesday by the national statistics office showed.

Berlin ended the year with a deficit of 88.57 billion euros ($115 billion), the Destatis office said, surpassing the European Union ceiling of 3.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

In 2009, Germany, which has the biggest economy in Europe, posted a public deficit right at 3.0 percent of GDP, following a slight surplus the previous year.

In October, German officials said they were confident of getting back below the EU threshold this year, but did not give a forecast figure.

Leading economic research institutes have said it could fall to 2.7 percent however, as Germany aims for an essentially balanced budget by 2016.

The country has benefited from a rebound in global trade that has raised tax revenues while falling unemployment has reduced the need for some public spending.

Officials have also launched an austerity plan aimed at realising savings of 80 billion euros by 2014.

© 2011 AFP

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