The preferred placement of the French should see a slight improvement to start the year 2022. The interest rate of the livret A, a regulated savings account available to 54.9 million individuals, could be raised to around 0.7 or 0.8% on February 1, 2022. It has stagnated at 0.5%, its floor rate since February 2020. “It is directly linked to inflation, which swells in 2021. The idea is to protect the savings of the French faced with the increase in consumer prices, for it to be profitable, specifies Philippe Crevel, director of the Cercle de l’épargne. The rate depends on a precise calculation. “
The formula is the arithmetic mean between the inflation recorded over the last semester and the average of short-term rates in euros, ie the borrowing rate of banks in the euro zone. Thus, with inflation of 2% over the year, according to forecasts, and an interbank rate of around -0.5%, the calculation would result in an interest rate of 0.75%. “We calculate this rate every year on January 15 and July 15. We send the result within four working days to the Director of the Treasury, we explain to the Banque de France, which will perform the calculation at the end of the year. The possible revision decision will be announced in early February. “
A boost before the presidential election
It is up to the government, which has plenty of time to follow the formula to the letter, or not. The Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, should therefore announce it in mid-January. “For the moment, the subject is not topical, we comment to Bercy. We will see all of this at the start of the year. The political context, with the presidential election in April, would like the government to follow the formula and raise the interest rate. The livret A being extremely popular with French households, the increase in its yield would obviously be a welcome boost.
Even if government policy appears to be in slight contradiction, since it precisely aims to reinject the record savings accumulated during the Covid into the economy. “But the government will not really have a choice. The calculation method is a rule that aims to avoid political debate, supports Matthieu Plane, economist at the OFCE. If he gave an additional boost, by pushing the interest rate to 1%, that would send a signal that would not encourage the French to consume. “
Among the 120 billion euros saved by the French in 2020, the livret A has captured a large part, recording a net inflow of 26.1 billion euros, a record. This tendency to build up a large mattress is expected to continue with the uncertainty caused by the fifth wave. “We could see precautionary savings appear again, faced with the fear of losing your job or new confinements”, underlines Matthieu Plane.
The outstanding amount of the livret A at the end of October stood at 343.5 billion euros. Despite a record outflow last month, where the French withdrew 2.83 billion euros, unheard of since 2014 (2.94 billion). “Historically, October has always been known to be a period of outflow because you have to pay property tax, there are tuition fees…, specifies Philippe Crevel. It is not necessarily significant. “
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