Dutch household savings increase further, net deposits decline
Savings held by Dutch households grew by around EUR 4.5 billion in 2015. Of the increase, a mere EUR 386 million can be attributed to net inflows. The first and second halves of 2015 are in stark contrast: the first six months saw net inflows of savings amounting to some EUR 10 billion, whereas most of this amount was withdrawn during the last six months.
At year-end 2015, Dutch households held around EUR 336 billion in Dutch bank accounts, following an all-time high of EUR 345 billion halfway through the year. The corresponding amount at year-end 2014 was EUR 332 billion. Just under 85% of Dutch savings have been put into instant access savings accounts, e.g. online savings accounts, with the remaining 15% (EUR 52 billion) held in fixed-term deposits.
As in previous years, the latter saw an inflow of savings in 2015, whereas instant access savings accounts were characterised by net withdrawals. This is most likely caused by higher interest rates on fixed-term deposits, compared with falling rates on instant access savings accounts.
The underlying trend in the amount of household savings is also reflected in the monthly net inflow of savings (i.e. excluding interest credited). Peaking in January and May, reflecting year-end and holiday bonuses, monthly inflow figures show a clear seasonal pattern. Net inflows were negative throughout the second half of 2015, in a trend that started in 2013.
Accumulated withdrawals by Dutch households totalled almost EUR 10 billion in the second half of 2015, with December showing a sharp outlier at EUR 4.5 billion in withdrawals. Besides the festive season, a plausible factor explaining the net withdrawal in the final months of the year is the search for yield among households, as they look for more profitable alternatives for their savings, such as additional mortgage loan repayments, being aware of the 31 December reference date for wealth tax purposes.