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German debt brake allows exceptions in extraordinary situations -Merkel

BERLIN, March 12 (Reuters) - Germany's debt brake rule allows for exceptions in extraordinary situations and the coronavirus crisis is such a case, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, adding that the government's focus now was not how its budget works out.

Under the German debt brake rule, the federal government can take on new debt of up to 0.35% of economic output.

"The debt brake ... provides for exceptions in extraordinary situations - and that is, as I said yesterday, really not our topic as to how the budget balance will look in the end," Merkel told a news conference. "We are in a situation that is unusual in every respect and I would say more unusual than at the time of the banking crisis."

(Reporting by Paul Carrel Editing by Leslie Adler)