BOSTON (TheStreet) -- After hovering near zero for months, the savings rate among U.S. consumers may increase to 6.5%, putting as much as $700 billion up for grabs by banks, financial service firms and the retirement sector.
That's the conclusion of a study of consumer spending patterns in the U.S., Germany, France and Italy by the financial services firm Allianz
Allianz considers the shift in savings habits a positive side effect of the decline in wealth from mid-2007 to early 2009. In 2008, the financial assets of private households declined 18% from the previous year. Stock market freefalls and a collapse in home values destroyed nearly $17.5 trillion of household wealth during the first quarter of 2009. Though economic improvements made up some of these losses by year-end, estimated losses still amounted to as much as 12 trillion.
With disposable income at $11 trillion, Allianz economists expect money to emerge from the sidelines and boost the savings rate, which has surged to 4.6% since early 2008, even higher.