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Germany ready to ditch balanced budget in case of recession: Spiegel

FILE PHOTO: The skyline with its financial district is photographed early evening in Frankfurt, Germany, October 8, 2018. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s right-left coalition government would be prepared to ditch its balanced budget rule and take on new debt to counter a possible recession, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Friday.

Fears are mounting that Europe’s largest economy could slide into a recession after slumping exports due to a global slowdown, tariff conflicts and Brexit fears translated into a contraction of 0.1% in the second quarter.

Germany has had a balanced budget since 2014, a fiscal rule introduced by former conservative finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and stuck to by his Social Democrat successor Olaf Scholz.

The Finance Ministry declined to comment on Spiegel’s report.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday she did not see any need for a fiscal stimulus package to counter the effects of a slowing economy. She added that her government remained committed to a high level of public investment.

Germany has for years faced calls from its euro zone partners and the International Monetary Fund to increase public spending, which would stimulate the economy of the whole monetary union.

Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Hugh Lawson