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Paris (AFP) – Impatiently awaited by tens of millions of savers, the new Livret A rate, applicable on February 1, is unveiled on Friday and should reach or even exceed 3%, against 2% so far, a level not equaled since 2009. , but still well below inflation.
This announcement is generally made in two stages: the Governor of the Banque de France proposes a rate, according to a formula taking into account inflation and interbank rates, at which the banks exchange short-term money, then the Minister of Economy and Finance sets it in stone. All this should happen in quick succession at midday.
The most common savings account rate in France, which a year ago was at its lowest level of 0.5%, doubled for the first time on February 1, 2022 and then again on August 1, to reach 2 %.
Inflation, which is still high in France – it reached 5.9% in December according to the latest provisional tally from INSEE – and the increase in the key rates of the European Central Bank (ECB) suggest that the result of the calculation will be around 3.2% or 3.3%, according to Philippe Crevel, director of the Circle of Savings, interviewed by AFP.
The Governor of the Banque de France François Villeroy de Galhau has been talking about a “significant” increase for several weeks.
But he held Wednesday to temper the ardor of the most optimistic, stressing before the Senate Finance Committee that his recommendation “should take into account in its few adjustment possibilities the good balance between the fair remuneration of popular savings and the preservation of a reasonable cost of financing our economy, including social housing in particular”.
A salty note
The approximately 500 billion euros deposited by the French in the livret A and livret de développement durable et solidaire (LDDS), most of which is centralized by the Caisse des dépôts, are intended to finance social housing, the social economy solidarity or even energy savings in housing.
If the increase in the rate is good news for savers, it is therefore less well received by local authorities and social housing players, whose loans from the CDC are often indexed to this rate.
The rise in the rate is also coldly received by the banking establishments which keep part of the deposits in their coffers. It could cost for example around 2 billion euros this year to the BPCE group, notably via its Caisses d’Epargne.
Especially since the margin is large: the more than 55 million Livret A, capped at 22,950 euros, were only filled to a quarter of their capacity at the end of 2021, according to the Banque de France.
With a rate of 3%, a completely filled Livret A would yield, over a full year, 688.50 euros in interest.
The People’s Savings Book (LEP) rate, reserved for the most modest households, will also benefit from a very significant increase.
Its formula, modeled on the inflation rate, could exceed 6% for this year, said Tuesday the director general of the Caisse des dépôts Éric Lombard, heard by the finance committee of the National Assembly.
“I take this opportunity to launch an appeal: there are 7 million people who could have an LEP and who have not opened it,” he added. But it is still necessary that the eligible people have the capacity to save.
© 2023 AFP
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