ECONOMY

Household savings rate falls further as income drops

Families cut back on spending in third quarter of last year

The household savings rate in Spain in the third quarter of last year declined further despite lower consumer spending as high unemployment and downward pressure on wages reduced income.

The National Statistics Institute (INE) said Wednesday that the savings rate in the period July-September of last year declined to 9.2 percent from 10.0 percent in the fourth quarter. That was the lowest rate for the third quarter since 2007. On a four-quarter moving basis, the rate dropped to 10.5 percent from 10.7 percent in the four quarters to June.

Gross disposable household income in the period declined 1.6 percent from a year earlier to 162.521 billion euros as a result of a fall of 1.9 percent in wages. Consumption declined an annual 0.4 percent to 147.037 billion euros.

On the positive side, the INE figures showed that as a result of deleveraging, the country had a lending position of 5.785 billion euros. In the first nine months of last year the net lending position was 8.026 billion euros, equivalent to 1.1 percent of GDP. The INE said this was the first time the country was in a situation to lend to others in the current historical series.

Spain is expected to book a current account surplus this year for the first time since the euro-zone started up in 1999.