Acquisition of financial assets and external financing in Germany in the second quarter of 2017 Results of the financial accounts by sector
At the end of the second quarter of 2017, households' financial assets amounted to €5,723 billion; this figure was just over €45 billion (or 0.8%) higher than in the first quarter of 2017. As valuation losses reduced financial wealth by roughly €8 billion, the rise was solely attributable to the transaction-based acquisition of financial assets. The lion's share of the funds, in the amount of around €26 billion, flowed into currency and deposits, which thus grew more strongly than in the previous quarter. Assets channelled into claims on insurance corporations and pension funds amounted to just over €18 billion. The preference for liquid and low-risk assets therefore continued to dominate investment behaviour in this sector, even though households once again perceptibly expanded their investment in shares and investment fund shares at the same time. Households' liabilities increased by just under €18 billion in the second quarter of 2017, which meant that their net financial assets rose by €27 billion or 0.7% on the quarter to €4,027 billion.
In the period under review, external financing by non-financial corporations amounted to roughly minus €1 billion. On the one hand, loans were the most important source of funding, which were taken up in the amount of just over €19 billion. At the same time, financing via shares and other equity also made a positive contribution. On the other hand, financing via other accounts payable, which include trade credits and advances, saw a marked decline. Overall, the net financial assets of non-financial corporations fell by €30 billion (1.7 %) to minus €1,786 billion.
Households: extensive acquisition of financial assets accompanied by strong external financing
In the second quarter of 2017, the transaction-related acquisition of financial assets by households in Germany totalled just less than €53 billion on balance and thus remained at a high level. The lion's share of the assets (roughly €31 billion) was invested in currency and transferable deposits. By contrast, time deposits as well as savings deposits and savings certificates were scaled back slightly. Claims on insurance corporations and pension funds also saw considerable inflows (over €18 billion). Against the backdrop of the prevailing low-interest-rate environment, there was therefore a continuation of households' pronounced preference for asset forms considered to be particularly liquid and/or low-risk.
At the same time, however, investment by households in the capital markets was significantly stronger than in the preceding quarter. Households made purchases totalling just over €10 billion, predominantly of investment fund shares, including real estate funds, equity funds and above all mixed securities funds. In addition, as in the previous quarter, households acquired shares and other equity to the tune of just under €2 billion net. Demand was noteworthy for foreign listed shares, while listed shares issued by domestic corporations saw moderate outflows of funds. This investment behaviour points to a yield awareness of sorts, as shares in general and above all foreign shares are usually considered riskier and are therefore acquired in the expectation of superior yields. By contrast, net holdings of debt securities were scaled back in the second quarter of 2017, although the outflows of funds were at a similarly low level as before, at about €1.6 billion.
The mixed capital market setting, particularly at the end of the quarter under review, brought valuation losses for households in Germany; taken in isolation, these losses reduced holdings of financial assets by roughly €8 billion. This primarily concerned listed shares and investment fund shares. On balance, the transaction and valuation-based changes led to an increase in financial assets of around €45 billion (0.8%), taking the figure to €5,723 billion at the end of the quarter.
In terms of external financing, households raised funds in the amount of around €17 billion, which was somewhat higher than the previous quarter. The upward trend that has been observed since mid-2013 thus continued in the quarter under review. In the second quarter of 2017, funds were provided almost exclusively by domestic monetary financial institutions, mainly in the form of loans for house purchases. Liabilities rose overall by just under €18 billion (1.1%), to €1,695 billion. Since debt grew more strongly in the reporting quarter than nominal GDP, the debt ratio – defined as total liabilities as a percentage of nominal GDP (four-quarter moving sum) – increased slightly to 53.1% at the end of the quarter, but remains rather low compared to the euro area as a whole. Overall, in combination with the growth in financial assets, this sent net financial assets just over €27 billion (or 0.7%) higher to €4,027 billion.
Non-financial corporations: subdued acquisition of financial assets and external financing
In the second quarter of 2017, following some marked increases in the preceding quarters, the transaction-related acquisition of financial assets by non-financial corporations amounted to minus €0.3 billion on balance. In net terms, this sector primarily scaled back other accounts receivable, which include trade credits and advances. On balance, holdings of debt securities also saw small outflows (minus €1 billion). By contrast, non-financial corporations expanded their credit claims (€5 billion) – primarily vis-à-vis non-residents – and increased, above all, their currency holdings and bank deposits (€13 billion). This was primarily attributable to an increase in transferable deposits (including currency) (€21 billion), while time deposits were scaled back (minus €7 billion).
In the period under review, external financing by non-financial corporations amounted to roughly minus €1 billion and thus also declined. Positive contributions were made by loan-based financing, at just over €19 billion. Funds to non-financial corporations were provided in large part by monetary financial institutions and other domestic corporations. Inflows of funds from issuing shares and other equity were also higher than in the previous quarter, amounting to roughly €4 billion on balance. The corresponding funding was provided, above all, by domestic corporations. By contrast, debt securities made a slightly negative contribution to funding. In addition, non-financial corporations scaled back other accounts payable, in this case primarily trade credits and advances, by just under €25 billion.
Alongside the transaction-related outflows in financial assets and liabilities, there were also valuation losses, which reduced financial assets by €54 billion and liabilities by €23 billion. Net financial assets thus fell by a total of about €30 billion in the second quarter, reaching minus €1,786 billion. The debt ratio – defined as the sum of issued debt securities, loans and pension provisions as a percentage of nominal GDP (four-quarter moving sum) – nevertheless remained virtually unchanged at 62.0% at the end of the second quarter, as growth in debt and nominal gross domestic product all but cancelled each other out.
Owing to interim data revisions of the financial accounts and national accounts, the figures stated in this press release are not directly comparable with those shown in earlier press releases.