Germany's public finances were back in the black in 2014, when Europe's biggest economy clocked up a surplus equivalent to 0.6% of overall output, official data showed today. 

The combined budgets of the German government, regional states, municipal authorities and welfare system showed an overall surplus of €18 billion, the federal statistics office Destatis calculated. 

It was the first time since unification in 1990 that Germany's public finances have been in the black. 

The surplus represented 0.6% of the country's overall gross domestic product (GDP) of €2.904 trillion, Destatis said. 

In 2013, Germany had achieved a balanced budget in its public finances. 

The 2014 surplus resulted from the difference between revenues of €1.294 trillion and expenditure of €1.276 trillion, the statisticians said. 

The German government budget alone showed a surplus of €11.4 billion, compared with a deficit of €4.5 billion a year earlier. 

The regional states' finances also swung to a surplus of €1.9 billion in 2014 from a deficit of €2.8 billion in 2013. 

The municipal authorities turned in a surplus of €1.3 billion and the welfare budget showed a surplus of €3.4 billion, Destatis said. 

Under euro zone rules, member states are not allowed to run up public deficits in excess of 3% of GDP and are obliged to bring their budgets into balance or surplus in the medium term.