BERLIN (Reuters) - The German economy is not heading towards recession, but the government is discussing fiscal measures to support growth, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier was quoted as saying on Thursday.
"Germany is not currently at the beginning of a recession, even if there are unresolved problems in international trade with Brexit and the United States," Altmaier told Handelsblatt newspaper in an interview.
The German economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the third quarter. Industrial output figures for October and November have pointed to meagre growth in the fourth quarter.
The Federal Statics Office will publish preliminary gross domestic product figures for the fourth quarter and 2018 as a whole next Tuesday. Economists speak of a technical recession when there are two consecutive quarters of contraction.
"For nine years now, we had moderate and healthy growth rates without overheating and the economy will continue to grow this year," Altmaier said.
The government will present updated 2019 growth forecast at the end of January, he said. In October, the government predicted 1.8 percent growth for this year.
Altmaier called for lower corporate taxes to help companies, but he admitted that he had yet to convince Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.
"It makes sense now to set incentives for growth," Altmaier said. "The economy needs a tailwind in order to be stronger in the future, to create jobs and growth."
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)