World Savings Day
In 2020, gross household saving rate in Slovenia the highest so far
In 2020, households in Slovenia saved the most so far. They focused most of their savings toward transferable sight deposits, while their indebtedness has not changed significantly compared to 2019. In 2020, households in all European countries increased their savings.
In 1924, at the first international congress of savings banks in Milan Italy, 354 representatives of approximately 7,000 savings banks and their branches from 27 countries selected 31 October to be the World Savings Day. The main goal of the congress was to encourage the population to save, especially in the form of deposits on accounts in commercial banks and savings banks.
The World Savings Day is intended to promote savings across the world and to raise awareness of the public about the importance of saving for modern economies and individuals. According to the latest data, the World Savings Day is celebrated in 80 countries.
What is saving and what are the most important motives linked to saving?
Household saving represents that part of disposable income that is not spent for the purchase of durable and consumer goods and services, but is saved. Household savings thus equal disposable income less final consumption.
The ECB research showed that the most important motives for saving of households in euro area countries are: ensuring of funds in case of unexpected events (for example, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic), ensuring an income at retirement, provision of funds for larger purchases (additional housing, furniture, vehicles) and saving for travelling (vacations), education and financial support for children or grandchildren.
Households in Slovenia in 2020 saved on average a higher share of their disposable income than the average household in the euro area and in the European Union
The gross saving rate of households (share of gross saving in gross disposable income) in Slovenia in 2020 was the highest so far; it was 22.6% (the long-term average from 2008 to 2020 was 13.4%).
Based on the latest available data from Eurostat, in 2020 the gross saving rate was the highest in the Netherlands (24.0%) and the lowest in Slovakia (10.9%). With a gross savings rate of 22.6%, households in Slovenia ranked third among the observed European countries, and above the average in the euro area (19.5%) and in the European Union (18.7%).
In 2020, households savings in all European countries increased
Household decisions about consumption and savings depend to a large extent on their disposable income. In 2020, its growth, as in Slovenia, continued in most European countries (data were available for 15 countries). Compared to 2019, it increased the most in Lithuania (by 8.6%) and decreased the most in Hungary (by 5.7%). In the remaining observed European countries, growth of gross disposable income ranged from -4.9 p.p. to +5.5 p.p.
Household consumption declined in 2020 in all observed European countries, except in Slovakia. Compared to 2019, the decrease in household consumption was the largest in Spain (by 12%). In the remaining observed European countries, growth of household consumption declined in the range from -11.0 p.p. to -0.7 p.p. The reasons are mainly related to the sharply reduced possibility of spending during the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures to stop the spread of the virus. Slovakia is the only country in which consumption and disposable income grew were both positive in 2020.
The sharp decline in consumption and further growth of gross disposable income were reflected in increased household savings.
In 2020, the gross household saving rate increased in all observed European countries. Compared to 2019, the highest increases in gross household saving rates were observed in Luxembourg (by 9.5 p.p.) and in Slovenia (by 8.9 p.p.) and the lowest increases were observed in Hungary (by 0.3 p.p.) and in Slovakia (by 0.8 p.p.). In the remaining observed European countries, the gross household saving rates increased in the range from +1.6 p.p. to +8.8 p.p.
In 2020, Slovenian households focused their savings most intensively on transferable sight deposits
At the end of 2020, the value of net financial assets (the difference between assets and liabilities) of households in Slovenia was the highest so far and amounted to EUR 48.2 billion or 102.8% of GDP. Compared to 2019, in 2020 net financial assets increased by 12% or EUR 5.2 billion.
At the end of 2020, household financial assets (currency and deposits, shares, etc.) amounted to EUR 63 billion or 134.3% of GDP. Compared to 2019, financial assets increased by 9% or EUR 5.2 billion due to significant household savings. Transferable sight deposits contributed the most to the increase in household financial assets in 2020, mainly due to the reduced possibility of spending during the COVID-19 pandemic. Compared to 2019, transferable sight deposits increased by a record high of EUR 2.7 billion and at the end of 2020 amounted to EUR 19 billion (which is 30% of all financial assets or 40.4% of GDP). Currency (EUR 1.2 billion), shares and other equity (EUR 1.1 billion), and insurance and pension schemes (EUR 0.3 billion) also made a noticeable contribution to the growth of household financial assets in 2020.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the structure of household financial assets in Slovenia has not changed significantly compared to previous years. In 2020, the highest share was still represented by deposits (in particular transferable sight deposits) and cash (49.3%), followed by equity and shares (29.9%), insurance and pension schemes (13.1%), debt securities and other receivables (5.6%) and loans (2.2%).
Such a structure of financial assets suggests that a conservative form of savings prevails among Slovenian households, and their investment decisions prioritise security over return (risk aversion), because safe and liquid assets as is typical for currency and deposits still represent almost half of their financial assets. The percentages of riskier investments such as investment funds shares, securities and financial derivatives remain relatively low.
In 2020, housing loans to Slovenian households continued to grow, while their indebtedness has not changed significantly
At the end of 2020, household financial liabilities (loans and other liabilities) amounted to EUR 14.8 billion or 31.5% of GDP. Growth of financial liabilities stagnated in 2020 compared to 2019 (in 2019: 4.2% growth, in 2020: 0.1% growth). In particular, long-term loans (repayment maturity longer than one year) increased to a much lesser extent than in the previous three years; they increased by EUR 101 million or 0.8% (in 2019 long-term loans increased by EUR 683 million or 6% compared to 2018).
The structure of household financial liabilities in Slovenia is still dominated by loans. In 2020, loans amounted to EUR 13 billion or 88.2% of all financial liabilities. The largest share of loans is represented by long-term loans (82.4%), followed by trade credits, advances and other liabilities (11.8%) and short-term loans (5.8%).
In the last few years, consumer loans have been growing significantly faster than housing and other loans. But in 2020, the decline of consumer loans was most pronounced among individual types of loans (among other things, due to the macro-prudential restrictions on household lending and increased caution of households about borrowing decisions due to uncertain conditions). Growth of housing loans to households remained relatively stable.
Household debt in Slovenia (measured as the ratio of financial liabilities from loans and gross disposable income) decreased in 2020 compared to 2019 (by 1.4 p.p.) and on average amounted to 43% at the end of 2020 (the long-term average from 2008 to 2020 is 45%).