German finance minister rules out stimulus plan despite weak growth

Berlin (dpa) – Germany does not need a stimulus programme, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has said, shrugging off slowing growth in Europe’s largest economy. “Slower growth is still growth,” Scholz said in an interview with public broadcaster ZDF that is to air on Tuesday. Scholz, a member of the centre-left Social Democrats who also serves as Angela Merkel’s vice chancellor, noted that employment was at a record high in Germany and that tax revenues continued to rise. “It is not the time to row back on Germany’s continued insistence that we not take on new debt,” Scholz said. He told the ZDF programme “heute journal” that, if political problems such as Brexit or the trade war between the US and China were resolved, then Germany “can expect better growth again.”

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier is expected to present a gloomier forecast for the German economy on Wednesday, dpa has learned from sources within the governing coalition. The government expects a rise in gross domestic product (GDP) of just 0.5 per cent in the current year, half its previous forecast of 1 per cent. The new figure is far more pessimistic than those from leading economic researchers, who expect growth of 0.8 per cent in 2019.

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