Romanians saved by 15 pc more in 2017 than last year, Erste study shows

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The amount of money that people are putting aside on a monthly basis either into savings or investments has risen in all of the six CEE markets covered in Erste Group’s Money Matters study (the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Croatia and Serbia), as well as in Austria, according to the 2017 edition of the survey.

For this region as a whole, the average monthly amount put aside was EUR 91 in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 10.4 percent and of 20.3 percent compared to 2012.

Romanians have posted the largest year-on-year rise on a percentage basis, upping the monthly amount they put aside by 15.2 percent to EUR 53, an increase of 35.9 percent on 2012.

Austrians continue to lead the region by placing aside an average of EUR 239 each month, an increase of 10.6 percent year-on-year and of over 40 percent against the EUR 170 they were saving each month in 2012.

In absolute terms, the Slovaks put aside the second-highest amount, namely EUR 106 (2016: EUR 97) and thus continue to outpace the Czechs, whose average monthly savings and investments rose by 14.3 percent to EUR 88.

Croatians’ monthly savings and investments of EUR 63 are 10.5 percent higher year-on-year, Hungarians are making due with a rise of 1.9 percent to EUR 53, the most modest year-on-year gain in the region. The amount that Serbians managed to put aside rose by 8.8 percent compared to 2016 to reach EUR 37, but continued to be the lowest in the region. The generally positive cross-regional trend in monthly savings and investment volumes has contributed to notable declines in the shares of people in the CEE region who are dissatisfied with the amount that they are currently able to save or invest.

Across the region in 2017, larger shares of people are reporting that their general financial situation has improved over the past two to three years, with Romania (up 8 percentage points (PP) to 33 percent in 2017) and the Czech Republic (up 6PP to 43 percent) posting the strongest year-on-year gains. Only Hungary saw a drop in those reporting an improvement (down 3 PP to 23 percent).

Despite an interest rate environment in which deposits generate extremely low interest rates, the traditional savings account, savings card and savings book remain preferred instruments for putting money aside in most of the region’s markets.

According to Erste, life insurance and capital assurance products remain particularly popular choices in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, reflecting their broader popularity across the region as a means of responding to the persistent low interest rates on deposits.

The results of the 2017 Money Matters survey suggest a general decline in the level of negative opinions held towards such investment products as stocks, securities, bonds and funds. The share of those holding a very negative stance on such instruments has fallen notably in Romania, the Czech Republic, and especially Serbia, which has also seen a corresponding rise in the share of those with rather or very positive opinions on them. However, by far the largest segment of survey respondents in all markets continues to takes a neutral stance, with that share ranging from 41 percent in Romania and Croatia to 61 percent in Serbia.

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