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Germany on track for balanced budget this year, ministry says

BERLIN, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Germany is set to post a balanced budget this year, a finance ministry spokeswoman said on Wednesday, declining to confirm a weekend report in Der Spiegel magazine that projected a surplus of 14 billion euros ($16.39 billion).

Europe's biggest economy has run a budget surplus since 2014, and some other countries have pushed for it to spend more to help boost euro zone growth.

The finance ministry has predicted a flat budget this year, but German institutes have said the next coalition government can bank on budget surpluses in the next two years. That could allow the new government to lower taxes and spend more on infrastructure and education.

Asked about the report on a 14 billion-euro surplus, the spokeswoman said final budget figures would be available only at the end of the year.

"But it is fairly certain that we will have a balanced budget this year," she said, citing strong tax revenues. She also said provisions set aside for dealing with asylum seekers would probably not be used.

The government has established a 20 billion-euro fund to cover costs related to the influx of more than a million migrants since mid-2015.

"But that is different from a surplus, rather it means that the budget will be balanced," the spokeswoman said.

When asked whether that meant there would not be a surplus, as widely expected, the spokeswoman stuck to her wording and declined to give further details.

The ministry is due to publish its next tax revenue estimates later this month. ($1 = 0.8593 euros) (Reporting by Madeline Chambers, editing by Larry King)