September 8, 2015 / 10:47 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-German finmin says must avoid reliance on debt, cenbank stimulus

(Adds Schaeuble quotes, background)

* Says Germany can still balance budget this year and coming years

* Mustn’t pass on bill for refugee influx to next generation

* More debt and cenbank money “neither original, nor serious”

BERLIN, Sept 8 (Reuters) - An excessive reliance on debt and central bank stimulus is no way to manage an economy, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Tuesday, defending Berlin’s pursuit of a balanced budget.

Germany has faced calls from European peers to invest more to stimulate demand with a view to generating more growth across the euro zone, but Schaeuble said a policy aimed at delivering sustainable public finances was the best course Berlin could take.

“Fewer debts, fewer crises, more sustainable growth ... that is the best policy we can produce in these times,” he told the Bundestag lower house of parliament in a budget debate, adding that Germany can still achieve a balanced budget this year and next despite the refugee crisis.

Germany met its goal of a balanced budget one year ahead of schedule in 2014 and has seen tax revenues climb as workers benefit from high employment and rising wages.

The government, which has agreed to free up an additional 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) to pay for a record number of refugees arriving in Germany this year, wanted to deal with the influx without taking on new debt, Schaeuble said.

“We shouldn’t pass on the bill for the tasks that are facing us now to future generations,” he said, adding: “...being in favour of more debt and a further flooding of the markets with central bank money is neither original nor serious.”

Schaeuble avoided any direct mention of the European Central Bank in his speech.

However, he made his comments after the ECB cut its growth and inflation forecasts last week, warning of possible further trouble from China and paving the way for an expansion of its massive 1 trillion euro plus asset-buying programme.

“Too much growth in credit does not solve any structural problems but leads to financial and debt crises,” Schaeuble said. “Central banks’ monetary policy measures can do little to change this in the long run.”

Germany does not need to justify its budget policy, he said, adding that Berlin was behaving responsibly both in Europe and in the global economy by delivering sustainable finances.

“Internationally, it is becoming clearer that sustainable finances are a condition for sustainable growth,” he said.

“In international debates, the voices are growing louder that the overweighting of the financial sector versus the real economy - due in particular to the immense short-term profit opportunities - is a danger for sustainable, global growth.” ($1 = 0.8962 euros) (Reporting by Michelle Martin and Paul Carrel; Writing by Paul Carrel)

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