Savings high in the Netherlands
Savings outweigh investment in the Netherlands. Since the 1980s, the Netherlands has had a savings surplus on the current account of the balance of payments. This means the Netherlands receives more income from abroad – through exports and from financial assets – than it pays abroad. The savings surplus has increased strongly in recent years. 2018 saw the savings surplus reach record levels of 10.9% of GDP. This is far above the 6% threshold established by the European Commission's macroeconomic scoreboard, which is an instrument intended to identify macroeconomic imbalances at an early stage.
Savings surplus primarily at non-financial corporations
Non-financial corporations are responsible for a significant part of the Dutch savings surplus. Their contribution in 2001-2018 amounted to over 80% (Figure 1). In addition to non-financial corporations, also households and financial institutions have a net savings surplus. Collective savings of households in pension funds accounted for 40% of the total savings surplus. Nonetheless, up until 2008, total household savings (i.e. including individual savings) were negative due to substantial purchases of new homes. Housing investment decreased markedly after 2008, and households started to contribute to the savings surplus. The government had a budget deficit in the majority of the years in the period under review, , which also implies a savings deficit.
Figure 1. Savings surplus by sector
(% of GDP)