TOKYO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Japanese households hold roughly 11 times more of their assets in cash or savings accounts than ones in Sweden do, according to a survey that shows their love for cash remains intact.
In 2015, the ratio of Japanese households’ cash holdings, including bank accounts, to nominal gross domestic product was 19.4 percent, according to a Bank of International Settlements survey cited by the Bank of Japan.
The BOJ, in a report on Tuesday, said Japan’s ratio was the highest among 24 countries surveyed by the Basel-based institution.
Japan’s level was roughly 11 times that of lowest-ranking Sweden, which is among the world’s most cashless societies.
It isn’t that Japanese households do not have credit cards. According to the survey, on average they possessed 7.7 credit, debit and electronic-settlement cards, second only to Singapore.
“Japanese households carry around a lot of cards, even though they don’t spend big sums with them,” the BOJ said in the report.
Japanese policymakers have long blamed the public’s preference to hold onto cash and aversion to risk as among key reasons for economic stagnation, as it meant households were less likely to spend their huge cash-pile. (Reporting by Sumio Ito and Leika Kihara; Editing by Richard Borsuk)