FILE PHOTO: A container ship is loaded at a terminal in the harbour of Hamburg, Germany September 23, 2012. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) – Economic growth in Germany hit a six-year high in 2017 and its public finances posted a record surplus, fuelling hopes of another strong showing in 2018 and sharpening a debate about how its next government should manage the windfall.
Growth reached 2.2 percent, the federal statistics office said on Thursday. That missed a Reuters poll forecast of 2.4 percent but was still the highest since 2011 with consumer spending, boosted by ultra-low borrowing costs, record high employment and rising wages, providing the biggest impetus.
Company investments and exports, the traditional driver of Europe’s largest economy, also contributed as demand for ‘made in Germany’ goods picked up globally and in a euro zone experiencing its broadest recovery in a decade.
With the Ifo institute last month forecasting even faster growth of 2.6 percent for this year, part of the economic spotlight is falling on political leaders …