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Cash still king for Germans, despite 5 years of zero rates

Kitco News

* German households' financial assets up 25% in 5 years
* But 40% still kept as cash, more than in 2014
* ECB has been trying to spur savers to put cash to work
By Francesco Canepa

FRANKFURT, July 15 (Reuters) - Saving account rates have been stuck at zero for years but Germans - traditionally among Europe's most investment-averse householders - are stashing even more cash at the bank than they did in 2014, Bundesbank data showed on Monday.

Coinciding with a campaign by the European Central Bank to spur savers to put their cash to work and stimulate the economy, the proportion of Germans' financial assets kept in currency and deposits rose to 40.2% percent at the end of March 2019.

It stood at 39% five years earlier, the data showed, before the ECB dragged its deposit rate below zero and embarked on a massive bond-buying programme to kick-start growth.

The figures, which exclude real estate investments, raise questions about the effectiveness of the central bank's stimulus policy at a time when it is raising the prospect of further interest rate cuts and bond purchases.

In total, the financial assets of German households and non-profit organisations that serve them stood at 6.36 trillion euros ($7.17 trillion), up by a quarter in five years.

On the upside, the share of assets invested in equity and investment funds rose to 20.8% from 19%. That came largely at the expense of debt securities and insurance contracts.

Real estate has also become increasingly popular with German households as a result of the ultra-low interest rates on mortgages - another effect of the ECB's policy.

($1 = 0.8869 euros)

(editing by John Stonestreet)

004906975651247; Reuters Messaging:
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