Wow, this is some bit of development in Germany. Germans kept piling on savings in savings accounts till rates were zero. Now with negative rates, they say enough is enough. They are busy keeping cash in their homes and for this demand of homesafes are rising. I did not know Japan saw similar development just a while ago.
It is no secret that one of the most admirable qualities of the German public – in addition to its striking propensity for thrift in the aftermath of Weimar – is its stoic patience and pragmatism when dealing with adversity. However, over the past month, we grew increasingly confident that said patience would be tested, if only when it comes to matters of monetary trust vis-a-vis the local, neighborhood bank. First it was the news that Raiffeisen Gmund am Tegernsee, a German cooperative savings bank in the Bavarian village of Gmund am Tegernsee, with a population 5,767, finally gave in to the ECB’s monetary repression, and announced it’ll start charging retail customers to hold their cash. Then, just last week, Deutsche Bank’s CEO came about as close to shouting fire in a crowded negative rate theater, when, in a Handelsblatt Op-Ed, he warned of “fatal consequences” for savers in Germany and Europe – to be sure, being the CEO of the world’s most systemically risky bankdid not help his cause.
That was the last straw, and having been patient long enough, the German public has started to move. According to the WSJ, German savers are leaving the “security of savings banks” for what many now consider an even safer place to park their cash:home safes.
Interest rates’ plunge into negative territory is now accelerating demand for impregnable metal boxes.
Burg-Waechter KG, Germany’s biggest safe manufacturer, posted a 25% jump in sales of home safes in the first half of this year compared with the year earlier, said sales chief Dietmar Schake, citing “significantly higher demand for safes by private individuals, mainly in Germany.”
Burg-Waechter KG, Germany’s biggest safe manufacturer, posted a 25% jump
in sales of home safes in the first half of this year compared with the
year earlier, said sales chief Dietmar Schake, citing “significantly higher demand for safes by private individuals, mainly in Germany.”
Rivals Format Tresorbau GmbH and Hartmann Tresore AG also report double-digit-percentage German sales increases. “Safe manufacturers are operating near their limits,” said Thies Hartmann, managing director of Hamburger Stahltresor GmbH, a family-owned safe retailer in Hamburg, which he says has grown 25% since 2014. He said deliveries take longer from safe makers, some of which are running three production shifts.
This apparently already started in Japan a few months ago:
To be sure, the Germans are merely catching up to where the Japanese were over half a year ago. As we wrote in February, “look no further than Japan’s hardware stores for a worrying new sign that consumers are hoarding cash–the opposite of what the Bank of Japan had hoped when it recently introduced negative interest rates. Signs are emerging of higher demand for safes—a place where the interest rate on cash is always zero, no matter what the central bank does.
“In response to negative interest rates, there are elderly people who’re thinking of keeping their money under a mattress,” one saleswoman at a Shimachu store in eastern Tokyo told The Journal, which also says at least one model costing $700 is sold out and won’t be available again for a month.