Posted on September 21, 2022 at 15:00Updated on September 21, 2022 at 5:08 pm
Inflation or not, the French are still saving. According to figures published on Wednesday by Caisse des Dépôts, the net collection of the Livret A and the Livret de développement durable et solidaire (LDDS) reached 5.28 billion euros for all networks in August.
It is simply the highest collection for a month of August since 2009, which is the reference point and corresponds to the year of generalization of the distribution of Livret A in all bank windows. And this is almost three times the net inflow of August 2021 (1.9 billion euros).
Pay Rate Increase
This spectacular harvest, which comes after an already exceptional month of July (3,120 million, that is, more than double the level of 2021), is a priori largely linked to the increase in the rate of return of the preferred savings investment of the French, which took place on 1Ahem August.
After going from 0.5% to 1% in February, this rate doubled again to reach 2%, a direct consequence of the rise in inflation that serves as the basis for the calculation. “The well-publicized doubling of the levy certainly caused a sharp increase in collections in a context that caused anxiety,” explains Philippe Crevel, director of the Cercle de l’épargne.
The French, already facing inflation close to 6%, are bracing for a harsh winter with inflation likely to accelerate and possible gas or electricity cuts. By fueling their regulated savings accounts, they are preparing a safety cushion for the coming months.
“It is a reflection of the concern of households in the face of high inflation, analyzes a banker. They seek protection and precaution as they do with sight deposits, which do not fall, to our surprise. »
Demand deposits are also filling up
At the end of March (latest figures from the Banque de France), they showed an outstanding balance of 791,000 million euros, almost 200,000 million more than at the end of 2019, before the outbreak of Covid. For their part, the Livret A and the LDDS registered an accumulated outstanding balance of 497,000 million euros at the end of August, compared to 411,000 million at the end of 2019.
In other words, the spectacular savings surplus seen during the health crisis has not been eroded. On the contrary, it is certainly increasing less quickly than in 2020 but it is still growing. “This collection shows that households still have reserves despite inflation, and inflation even reinforces this reserve”, emphasizes Philippe Crevel.
“But not all savers have the same behavior,” tempers a savings expert. According to the Court of Auditors, the average outstanding balance of a Livret A is 5,858 euros for a natural person. However, savers over the age of 65 own 21% of the passbooks (that is, their weight in the French population) but 34% of the outstanding balances.
Towards another rate hike
At first glance, the success of the Livret A is all the more surprising as its real rate remains negative if inflation is taken into account. But between life insurance in euros (paid on average at 1.3%), free savings books (0.1%) and shares (which have fallen this year), the alternatives are little more favourable.
Theoretically, this influx of savings, which is likely to weigh on consumption and thus growth, should dry up as growth falters. Collection is traditionally weakest in the second half, marked by summer vacations, back-to-school or end-of-year expenses.
But the prospect of a further increase in the Livret A pay rate, which should once again follow the inflation curve, could support inflows. “There will probably be a new increase in February of next year,” the governor of the Banque de France, François Villeroy de Galhau, repeated last Friday on RTL.
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