Portrait of stagnation

The government’s household spending survey for 2008 was released the other day. The average balance of savings for each household was ¥16.8 million, a 2.3% decrease from 2007 and the third year the average balance has gone down. The main reason for the decline was, again, lower interest rates as well as fewer people taking out life insurance annuities. The portion of savings devoted to stocks and securities was about ¥2.7 million per household, which is a slight increase over 2007, and the fifth year in a row that showed an increase. Average total debt per household was ¥4.98 million, a 1.4% decrease, meaning fewer families are borrowing money.