Savings, debt… The finances of the French are normalizing following the Covid crisis

The financial situation of businesses and French households, turned upside down by the Covid-19 crisis, was on the way to normalization at the end of January 2022, indicated the Banque de France in its quarterly note published on Thursday.

What emerges from 2021 and especially from the end of the year is the beginning of a normalization of financial flows after the exceptional period of 2020 and the start of 2021, at the height of the health crisis, Olivier summed up. Garnier, director general of the central bank, during a press briefing.

Regarding companies, over the whole of 2021, the outstanding net debt reached 1027 billion euros at the end of December, against 995 billion at the end of 2020 and 990 billion at the end of 2019, indicates the Banque de France.

Over a more precise period covering the fourth quarter of 2021 and January 2022, the increase in the stock of corporate net debt tends to return to a rate closer to its pre-Covid trend – around 4% per year in average over the previous two decades, raises the note.

Lower oversavings in 2021 than in 2020

With regard to households, the Covid crisis had generated a very large increase in the flow of investments and financial savings, leading to a surplus of savings, recalled Olivier Garnier. Over the whole of 2021, financial savings amounted to 134 billion euros, significantly lower than 2020 (184 billion) but almost double that of 2019 (67 billion).

At the end of 2021, it returned to a quarterly level which is still a little above the 2017-2018 period but which is approaching it, there is also the start of normalization, underlines Olivier Garnier.

The central bank also notes that in January, investments in the form of bank deposits are again dynamic, after a slowdown observed in the fourth quarter of 2021. This dynamism may have been fueled by the announcement of the increase in interest rates for savings accounts. A and the sustainable and solidarity development booklet (LDDS), which may have motivated some households to turn to these investments.

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