Face à l’inflation, les Français veulent épargner plus mais n’y arrivent pas

Face à l'inflation, les Français veulent épargner plus mais n'y arrivent pas

(BFM Bourse) – Faced with the shock of inflation, households’ aspiration to save remains very high, but they recognize that they have difficulties to feed their wool socks. His choice continues to be blurred by inflation and changes in the remuneration of regulated savings products (Livret A, LEP, etc.), according to the BPCE Observatory.

The French do not detract from their reputation as “ants”, and the recent rise in prices has become one of the main reasons for saving, points out the latest study by the BPCE Observatory. The desire of French households to save money remains the highest, especially as it is also fueled by long-term concerns (retirement, rising public debt, etc.). But at the same time, the French have never been so pessimistic about their ability to save since the beginning of 2019, a pessimism that especially affects the most modest households with inflation, the study adds.

A savings rate of over 16% is expected in 2022

For the BPCE economists, the French savings rate would remain close to 16.2% in 2022, then should decrease slightly to 15.8% in 2023, after 18.7% in 2021 and 21% in 2020. However, this savings rate would still be significantly higher than the previous one. Covid average (between 14 and 15%). “It is true that the recent increase in the saving rate has been due mainly to wealthy households, whose propensity to consume is lower than average,” says the study, which adds that “the insufficiency of profitability, especially if a greater Inflation erodes the real value of their financial assets, pushing them to hold even more abundant savings as these wealthy anticipate future tax hikes as public finances drift.”

According to this same barometer, new financial investments will continue to decline gradually, going from 111,000 million euros in 2021 to 89,600 million euros in 2022. In 2023, they should represent a total amount of 66,700 million euros. This decrease would come after an absolute record of 149,300 million euros in 2020. According to the BPCE Observatory, this decrease is explained, on the one hand, by the fall and then by the weakness of the purchasing power of households, and on the other hand, due to the expected slowdown in the distribution of mortgage loans, accentuated in 2023. At a slower pace, in 2022”, adds the study.

Collection favored by the booklets, and especially by the increase in the LEP rate

As for arbitrations on financial investments, the reference indices for French households remain, according to the BPCE, “blurred both by the return of inflation and by the still limited increase in regulated tariffs that are still far away, by 1 %, of the psychological threshold likely to trigger a major arbitration and that is close to 2.5%”. But the regulated passbooks should find a new boost with the rise in the rate of the Livret A (2%) and the Livret d’épargne populaire (LEP) to 4.6% on August 1. Regulated brochures will also continue to benefit from the exit movement of the PEL, whose latest generation offers a net tax return (0.7%) that is much lower than that of the Livret A.

For its part, life insurance is benefiting mainly from the drive of unit-linked products, whose dynamism is also driven by retirement savings plans (PER). “In a context of strong appetite to prepare for retirement, currently reinforced by the uncertainties associated with the government’s pension reform project, net inflows, excluding transfers to PERs from insurers, represent the equivalent of 28% of net inflows of life insurance for one year”, explains BPCE. In addition, unit-linked products are also benefiting, according to BPCE, from a limited but gradual reduction in risk aversion in an economic environment considered generally unfavorable for the stock market, leading to a transfer of value flows to unit-linked life insurance for 18 months

For the BPCE economists, the trade-offs between financial products, which are still guided by a wait-and-see attitude, the search for security and availability to the detriment of risk, should therefore be disrupted by the magnitude of the changes abrupt in the regulated ones. rates in 2022 and 2023. They also mention “the effect of the rebound, perceived by households, of inflation, either of the Livret A and especially of the LEP”. In particular, the collection of the LEP could even exceed the forecasts of the bank’s economists -forecast at 7,200 million euros in 2022- because its profitability (4.6%) is now well above the psychological threshold of remuneration of 2 ,5%.

Sabrina Sadgui – ©2022 BFM Bourse

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