Friday, 5 August 2011

The wealth effect : the EU version

I don't think that much have been said about European households' assets. Here's a couple of charts about that with obvious implications.

source: Eurostat

Here's households' owneship of equities, listed or not. Unfortunately data for 2010 are available for very few countries so there was not point using those.

source: Eurostat

And here's data about households' holdings of securities other than shares, meaning bonds, bills, debentures and financial derivatines.

Countries whose households are the largest holders of such securities are more likely to be affected by positive or negative wealth effects. This could mean something or it could mean nothing really. The contingent size of the wealth effect depends on the dispersion of ownership of such securities, i.e. how large the % of households that hold such securities is and how large a % of their wealth they comprise.

After the 2000-2003 period, when markets dropped substantially, in most EU countries households' savings rates did not spike, they remained almost constant. The reason was that back then this was, if you allow me the characterization, just a recession, but the 2008 crisis was just that a full-blown crisis. As a result household saving rates did spike in most countries regardless of wealth effect or not due to the depth of the crisis.

I have plotted gross household savings rates for select EU countries in 3 charts. I used the trajectory of the households' savings rate as a proxy of whether ownership of equities is widely dispersed or not. Of course this is not a foolproof way to distinguish that, so take this with a pich of salt.

First, there are the countries that following large equity market corrections, households' gross savings rate spiked significantly. I therefore, conclude that households' wealth took a hit because of that and households retrenched until their wealth increases again. Moreover, during bull markets for equities the savings rate fell. Hence, equity ownership should (or could be) relatively widespread.

source: Eurostat

Then there are the countries that households seem to have high equity holdings but savings rates didn't post any substabtial moves post-equity market corrections. Could it be that equity holdings are not that dispersed or is it that saving rates were considered to be high enough by households or were stretched enough as it is ?

source: Eurostat

Finally, there the countries whose household sector has relatively high equity holdings but while saving rates didn't budge back in 2000-2003 they surely did spike after the 2008 crush due to the crisis force (always in my humble opinion).

source: Eurostat

These are all conjecture, so they could mean something or they could mean nothing at all...


1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.