The savings rate of Estonian households has been catching up to the average EU level in recent years, the Bank of Estonia said on Friday.
"The current high savings rate of Estonian residents is fully consistent with expectations," Bank of Estonia economist Katri Urke said in a press release. "When we systemically analyze the saving behavior of EU households, we find that in the past couple of years, the savings rate of Estonian households has reacted to macroeconomic factors just like that of households in the other EU member states on average."
Even though the high savings rate undermines growth in private consumption, on the other hand, money is being lent to businesses, which use it in turn to finance investments, she said.
"Future economic growth depends on corporate investments and fixed assets," Urkle continued. "The current high household savings rate should hence be conducive to corporate investment."
According to the central bank, during the period of rapid economic growth from 2002-2007, the savings rate of Estonian households was considerably lower than in other countries with similar macroeconomic indicators.
"Households may have understood during economically difficult times that they had saved too little during the good times, and as a result, they saved more in 2010-2014 than residents in other similar countries did," Urkle observed.
"According to studies by the Economic Institute of Economic Research, the percentage of households with savings increased in 2017 as well," she noted. "Hopefully the present sensible savings behavior will continue, and households will not rush to spend the accumulated savings in economically good and secure times. This would help households cope better next time economic hardships hit."
Editor: Aili Vahtla