Until September, bank savings grew by EUR 16.6 billion, which is five to six billion euros more than the past ten years’ average for this period. The October and November figures seem to mark a break in the recent savings boom. In part, this is due to a seasonal effect: typically, the last few months of any year show lower net savings, or even net withdrawals, owing to seasonal purchases.
Another factor is the low level of savings rates (currently averaging between 2% and 2½%). Some savers have sought higher returns on other markets. There are indications that amid resurging stock markets, some savings have been diverted towards the equity market. During October and November 2009, for instance, Dutch households purchased some EUR 750 million worth of equities. Another part of the observed net withdrawals may be associated with deteriorating labour market conditions. Many people in search of work – including e.g. self-employed workers who faced a drop in demand during the past year – may have drawn down their savings deposits.