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Saving soars during lockdown as lending and spending both plummet

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People saved as they had few places to spend in lockdown

People saved as they had few places to spend in lockdown

PA

People saved as they had few places to spend in lockdown

Consumers have poured money into savings accounts during the lockdown, as those fortunate enough to retain a job have been unable to spend in many shops.

The latest Bank of Ireland savings and investment index shows that consumers now think it is a good time to save, but half feel now is not the time to put money into investments.

Covid-19 pandemic restrictions have led to a collapse in consumer spending, prompting sentiment towards saving to be strong in the Bank of Ireland index.

"Consumers had less outlets for spending, so many were able to save, and in the short-term they think it is a good time to save," the bank said.

More people have been saving regularly in the April to June period, and there has been a significant spike in people thinking it is a good or very good time to save.

However, the index also shows that attitudes are likely to shift again, with fewer people seeing the need for saving in six months' time, which may indicate a rise in spending as the reopening of our economy progresses.

The Central Bank said recently that deposits from households rose by €3bn during April, the biggest increase since the bank began compiling the figures in 2003.

Surprising

Consumer lending also dropped sharply in April, according to the bank.

The compilers of the Bank of Ireland index said that the most surprising result was a big increase in optimism about retirement.

Bank experts speculated that people have seen what a simpler, slower pace of life is like during the lockdown and feel quite positive about it.

Financial preparedness for retirement also rose.

Given the massive falls and rises in stock markets, large numbers of people have turned off the idea of putting their money into investments.

During the lockdown, equity markets dropped by 30pc before recovering almost all of these losses in a matter of weeks.

However, some see the situation as a buying opportunity.

The investment aspect of the index saw an increase in those saying they saw it as a good time to invest, while there was also an increase among those who saw it as a bad time to invest.

The overall Bank of Ireland Savings and Investment Index, which gauges attitudes to savings and investing, increased during the April to June period by 6pc, compared with the previous quarter.

Kevin Quinn, of Bank of Ireland Investment Markets, said attitudes to savings strengthened during the period of economic strain.

"With greater uncertainty, the precautionary reason for saving has also come to the fore, and we've seen an increase in those who think it's a good time to save in the short term," he said.

He said the increase in optimism about retirement could be down to the fact that people have had time and space to reflect on their futures, and there has been a growth in optimism about what life can be like in retirement.

However, this improved optimism about retirement stands in contrast to the numbers who have been making adequate provision for retirement, Mr Quinn said.