Survey on inflation: One in six people can barely pay the cost of living

Survey on inflation
One in six people can barely afford living expenses

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High price increases are pushing many Germans to their limits. According to a survey, 17.2 percent can barely pay their living expenses. Many have to rely on savings, if they have any. After all, consumers can soon hope for relief.

According to their own statements, around one in six Germans can hardly afford their living costs due to high inflation. In a Yougov survey for Postbank, 17.2 percent of 2,059 respondents chose this answer option when asked how they perceived the price increases. In the comparison survey from January 2022, the proportion of those who are reaching financial limits due to the sometimes significantly increased prices for food and energy was 11 percent, according to information from Postbank, which is part of the Deutsche Bank Group, on Monday.

Overall, more than a third of those surveyed for the current survey from September 15th to 18th this year rely “a lot” (10 percent) or “somewhat” (28.1 percent) on savings for everyday expenses. One in six (17.7 percent) stated that they did not have any reserves. Four out of ten respondents (39 percent) say they have enough regular income to be able to cover the increased prices.

Reassuring inflation data

In view of the latest inflation data, consumers can hope for relief: in September, the annual inflation rate in Germany fell to 4.5 percent, according to preliminary calculations, the lowest level since the start of the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine in February 2022. Economists expect a further weakening Inflation in the coming months.

“With inflation slowly but at least declining, the situation should ease,” said Deutsche Bank’s chief investment strategist for private and corporate customers, Ulrich Stephan, describing the survey results. However, Stephan, like other experts, expects that inflation “will remain above 2 percent for quite some time, despite the significant interest rate increases by the European Central Bank.”

The European Central Bank (ECB) is aiming for price stability with two percent inflation for the euro area in the medium term. With a series of ten interest rate increases since July 2022, the euro currency watchdogs are counteracting inflation, which has been significantly increased for some time. Higher interest rates make loans more expensive, which can slow down demand and counteract high inflation rates.

Money on the high edge

The key interest rate at which banks can obtain fresh money from the central bank is now 4.5 percent. The deposit interest rate that banks receive for parked funds has reached 4.0 percent, the highest level since the monetary union was founded in 1999. Banks are again vying for savers with higher interest rates for fixed-term and overnight deposits.

A lot of savings money is parked in the current account. In the YouGov survey, the results of which were reportedly weighted and therefore representative of the German population aged 18 and over, almost a third (31 percent) of the 2,059 respondents said that despite the sharp rise in prices to continue saving unchanged. 18.8 percent say they even put more money aside. 20.8 percent said they were building fewer reserves; 8.7 percent of participants have stopped saving altogether. According to the survey, those who save money mostly leave it in their checking account (47.6 percent) – although the majority of those surveyed (60.5 percent) say they know that these reserves are losing value due to inflation.

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