The total amount of money in Belgian savings accounts dropped noticeably in March, according to National Bank figures.
While it isn’t yet clear whether inflation is to blame (some have moved their funds to alternative investments), the unprecedented increases are a likely culprit, along with record-breaking energy prices.
Belgians banked a historically high amount of their income in 2020, driven in part by insecurity surrounding the pandemic and the fact that public health regulations made it difficult to spend on holidays or going out. But household savings are now back to similar levels as before the pandemic.
In March, €300.7 billion was sitting in regulated savings accounts, €656 million less than in February.
No simple explanation
Geert Sciot, National Bank spokesperson, cited possible explanations for the reduction in savings: “High inflation will play a role, but there could be many reasons why savings differ month on month."
"Some people might have booked summer trips. Or they could have received a bonus in the months before; perhaps their wages were indexed. It is difficult to draw conclusions in one month.”
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More data will be needed in the coming months in order to determine whether high inflation rates will eat into Belgian’s savings.
Regardless, the National Bank is still assuming an average increase in purchasing power for 2022, but that is also because more people per household are working: the more people employed, the greater the average purchasing power of households.