BERLIN, March 23 Germany's large current account
surplus is the result of the competitiveness of the German
economy and the government has no influence over it, the finance
ministry said in a report on Thursday, adding that the surplus
will shrink in coming years.
The new U.S. administration has accused Germany of
exploiting a weak euro to gain a trade advantage and
called for bilateral discussions to reduce the $65 billion U.S.
trade deficit with Germany.
The finance ministry said in its monthly report that rising
private consumption, an eventual normalisation of the European
Central Bank's expansionary monetary policy and demographic
factors in Germany are likely to narrow the surplus.
"The German current account surplus is the result of many
factors. Above all it is the result of the exceptional
competitiveness of the German economy," the ministry said.
It added: "The current account in Germany is not controlled
by the state. In any case, possible economic and political
actions (to influence the account) would be very limited."
Germany has been relying on private consumption and
increased state spending for growth as exports weaken.
The finance ministry said the current account, which stood
at 8.3 percent of output in 2016, would fall to 8 percent by
2018. It stood at 8.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2015.
The European Commission and the International Monetary Fund
have urged Germany to take advantage of record-low borrowing
costs and increase investment to reduce the country's large
trade and current account surpluses.
In 2016, the German trade surplus hit a fresh record at 253
billion euros ($273.49 billion). The wider current account
surplus, which measures the flow of goods, services and
investments into and out of a country, rose to an all-time high
of 266 billion euros.
($1 = 0.9251 euros)
(Reporting by Joseph Nasr Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)