Germany's long resilience to the eurozone economic crisis appears to be wearing down, even though the Finance Ministry reported a record tax income of €71 billion in December 2011 – a 4.1 percent increase on the same month the year before.
That was a significant slowdown from previous months: November saw a 7.6 percent increase and October a 8.5 percent increase.
Tax income growth slowed steadily throughout 2011, but remained healthy – increasing by 10.8 percent in the first quarter, and 6.1 percent in the fourth.
But the latest figures may hide some cause for concern, since December is traditionally the strongest tax month of the year, since it contains extra spending and income over Christmas.
Germany's federal budget for 2011 has reflected the positive figures, with the country only taking on €17.3 billion in new debts. The federal government's interest payments for the year totalled €32.8 billion.
The government's prognoses for 2012 predict a slow start to the year as Germany struggles to manage the eurozone's currency crisis, followed by a recovery in the second half of the year.
“The economy seems to be recovering and the tax income is strong,” Alfred Boss, economist at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), told financial daily Handelsblatt. He predicts that the state could once again make ends meet with just €17 billion in new debts this year.