According to the latest figures by Statistics Netherlands, the savings of private individuals reached almost 200 billion euro in 2004. People put almost 11 billion euro more into their savings accounts than they took out. Outstanding debt on consumer credit increased to almost 18 billion euro in 2004. Current accounts were almost 7 billion euro in the red on 31 December 2004.
Uncertain economic situation encourages savings
In 2004, the balance in the savings accounts of private individuals increased by 8 percent to almost 200 billion euro. Since 2001 savings balances have increased by an average of 10 percent a year. Between 1997 and 2000 the annual increase was 5 percent. The increased growth rate in recent years is due to the uncertain economic situation. The uncertainty motivates households to save money and reduce spending. Since 2001, investments have lost much of their appeal as an alternative for savings.
Much saving, reluctant borrowing
In 2004, the difference between savings deposited and savings paid out was 10.8 billion euro. This difference is 1.1 billion euro less than in 2003. The amount of consumer credit granted was 10.4 billion euro, about the same as in 2003. There has hardly been any change in the amount of credits granted annually since 2001. Outstanding debt in consumer credit at the end of 2004 was close to 18 billion euro. This debt has been growing by an average of 4 percent a year since 2001. In the period 1997-2000 the growth rate was 9 percent a year.
Increasingly in the red
Current accounts were more in the red in 2004 than in 2003. On 31 December 2004 households were 6.9 billion euro in the red, an increase of 7 percent on 31 December 2003. Being in the red on a current account is an easy way of quickly borrowing money that can partly replace more formal consumer credit.
Savings per household increases to 28 thousand euro
On average Dutch households had 28 thousand euro in the bank in 2004. This is almost 2 thousand euro more than on 31 December 2003. On average households deposited 1 500 euro more than they took out. On average households borrowed 1 500 euro for consumer purposes and paid off 1 600 euro. On 31 December 2004 the outstanding debt in consumer credit for households averaged 2 500 euro, the same as the year before. On 31 December 2004 households were on average 1 000 euro in the red on current accounts, 100 euro more than in 2003.
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