The Livret A rate rose to 3% for the first time since 2009

The new Livret A rate, which came into effect on February 1, should reach or even exceed 3% against 2% so far, a level not equal since 2009 (Denis CHARLET / AFP/Archive)

Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire announced on Friday that the Livret A rate would be raised from 2% to 3% on February 1, a level not seen since 2009 but significantly below inflation.

The minister thus followed in the footsteps of the governor of the Banque de France, who had offered him the same figure a little earlier, as procedure required.

If, on the one hand, the price increase reached 5.9% in December according to the information of INSEE, and on the other hand, the calculation formula was applied taking into account the interbank exchange rates with which banks exchange short-term money. In the letter, the rate was even increased to 3.3%.

But central bank governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau opted for a slight downward roll, citing “exceptional circumstances” in a press release.

“It’s still three times a year,” Bruno Le Maire told France 2.

The evolution of the ledger Grade A
The evolution of the ledger Grade A (Ayoub SIMOUR / AFP)

Still at a record low of 0.5% a year ago, the Livret A rate first rose to 2% on February 1, 2022, and then again on August 1.

For the Banque de France, it is desirable that “the exchange rate movements of the A livre remain progressive rather than highly volatile, and that this potentially escalates to the downside.”

Lesser known than its predecessor, the Handbook of Sustainable and Solidarity Development (LDDS) also benefits from this 3% increase.

Stock up on goat and cabbage

The nearly 500 billion euros that the French have invested in Livret A and LDDS accounts, mostly centralized by the Caisse des dépôts (CDC), are partly intended to finance social housing, the social and solidarity economy, or more energy savings. apartment.

While the rate hike is good news for savers, it is not so well received by many public players whose loans from the CDC are often indexed at this rate.

Eric Lombard, CEO of the Caisse des dépôts, in Versailles on January 18, 2022
Eric Lombard, managing director of Caisse des dépôts, in Versailles on January 18, 2022 (Ludovic MARIN / POOL/AFP/Archives)

Banque de France argues that “a very high rate would be very unfavorable” for “financing social housing and urban policy”.

“Social housing organizations (…) are in a good financial position,” however, Caisse des dépôts director general Eric Lombard told the National Assembly’s finance committee on Tuesday.

The increase in the discount rate is coldly received by banking institutions that keep a part of the regulated deposits in their vaults.

Eric Dore, director of economic research at IESEG business school, says banks fear that “excessive growth in the livret A rate will make it too attractive and encourage many savers to turn away from insurance investments.” Among the returns announced by Euro life insurance fund managers since the beginning of the year, none have so far reached the 3% threshold.

Promotion of LEP

According to the Banque de France, about 55 million A books, capped at 22,950 euros, were filled to only a quarter of their capacity at the end of 2021.

Francois Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Banque de France, in Paris, October 26, 2021
Francois Villeroy de Galhau, governor of the Banque de France, in Paris on October 26, 2021 (Eric PIERMONT/AFP/Archives)

This is the case for the Popular Savings Book (LEP), designed for the most modest families. Despite a record number of new LEPs in 2022 – more than two million – the majority of eligible households have yet to open one.

Banque de France claims it “strongly supports this instrument”. The governor also opted to fully implement the formula for calculating the rate, proposing to raise the rate from 4.6% to 6.1%, a level not seen in more than 35 years.

“We will be the only country in Europe to offer our citizens a guaranteed savings account at a rate higher than inflation,” said Bruno Le Maire, encouraging the 10 million French people without LEPs to open a bank if they were eligible. .

As for Livret A and LDDS, the amount deposited in this book is limited to 7,700 euros, guaranteed by the state and exempt from taxes and social security contributions.

Only taxpayers who do not declare more than €21,393 for a single person are eligible, as are low-income families who often struggle to save.

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