ECONOMY

Greek savings rate among the lowest in the European Union

BRUSSELS – Greek households have one of the lowest saving rates in Europe, data by the European Union statistics service (Eurostat) show. In fact, Greece is a laggard among eurozone countries as citizens saved only 8.8 percent of their income in 2004, the year for which data were published last week. The average rate among the 12 eurozone members came to 14.7 percent, similar to previous years, while among the 25 EU countries it fell to 12.2 percent from 12.5 percent in 2003, but remained higher than the 11.4 percent rate in 2000. The highest savings rate was recorded in Italy with 17 percent, followed by Germany (16.1 percent) and France (15.6 percent). On the other side of the spectrum, the lowest rate was seen in Lithuania, at just 0.6 percent, with the Latvians coming close with 1.8 percent, consuming practically all their disposable income. Among the older EU member states the UK had only 4.3 percent of household income saved, and the Danes saved just 5.7 percent.