Rate denial

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GERMANY'S Chancellor Helmut Kohl has said criticism that Germany is keeping its interest rates high is groundless. He told Japanese businessmen and reporters during a tour of the Far East that Germany's long-term interest rates are the lowest for 12 years.

Asked whether a stronger yen versus the mark would be one option to correct bilateral trade imbalances between Germany and Japan, Mr Kohl said he hoped economic recovery in Germany and more investment between both countries would help reduce imbalances. Germany is running an annual trade deficit with Japan of around DM25bn (pounds 10.7bn).