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October 4, 2016
The policy of low and negative interest rates has had a limited impact on the returns on household financial assets in Germany to date. The nominal total return has averaged 3.4% over the last four years. Even nominal returns on interest-bearing investments did not slip below 2% until 2015 because a large proportion of longer-dated and mostly higher-coupon investments dampened the effect of evaporating market returns. High and stable revaluation gains have also buttressed total returns over recent years. They have probably been enhanced in no small measure by the ECB’s Quantitative Easing programme. Interest income and revaluation effects are likely to be a greater burden in 2016 and 2017. The income return on other assets is also likely to drop on account of the financial market environment. The scope for further significant revaluation gains is likely to be limited given already very high valuations. In 2017 the real total return could even become negative (again). [more]