The rate of household savings in Belgium increased again in the first quarter of 2022, rising to 15.7%, according to statistics published by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB).
At the end of last year, Belgian households saved around 12.8% of their income. The new saving rate is the highest recorded since the second quarter of 2021.
During the first three months of 2022, household disposable income also rose sharply, increasing by 6.8%. Meanwhile, final consumption expenditure also increased (+3.2%), but not as fast as disposable incomes.
“Lower income and wealth taxes are the main source of disposable income growth, contributing 3.8 percentage points” the NBB noted. “It offsets a relatively large increase in these same taxes observed in the fourth quarter of 2021, and which had then weighed negatively on the disposable income (and savings rate) of households.”
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The bank attributes the changes from quarter to quarter as being driven by changes in personal income tax roles. At the start of the year, the rate of household investments fell slightly, falling by 0.2% to 10%.
Despite higher incomes, however, Belgian households are ultimately losing money despite higher incomes. More than 70% of households said they had the same amount of disposable income in the first quarter of 2022 as they did in the same period last year.
Some 20.7% of people living in Brussels report that they struggle to make ends meet. A separate study conducted in June states that more than half barely make enough money to get through the month.