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The best savers in the world for 2014.

Data from the World Bank Group ranks Australia 35th in a list of the world’s best savers. In 2014, Australian gross savings was at 22.8% of GDP. This is down from 2006 when we were able to put aside a full 2% more (24.9%) — no small change on Australia’s US$1.455 trillion strong GDP.
g20 national debt map2

Source: Debt of the G20 nations

What is gross savings?

The World Bank ranks countries on public and private savings as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). This is household, business and government disposable income minus consumption. Gross saving rates are used as an economic indicator because it shows how much money a country, business or household has to invest in assets such as infrastructure projects or property. Not surprisingly, oil and energy producing nations are high up on the list.

The world’s top 5 best savers in 2014

The top 5 countries by gross savings as a percentage of GDP are either China or countries rich in hydrocarbon fuels and minerals. Topping the list in 2014 was Qatar, a country which has one of the largest deposits of natural gas in the world and boasting an unemployment rate of less than 1%. The oil and gas driven economy had a gross savings rate of 58% in 2014.

Special administrative region Macau and China were the world’s second and third best savers respectively in 2014. Macau is a free market economy driven by gambling. In 2015, the casino industry, which is seven times that of Las Vegas and accounted directly for about 60% of the economy of Macau, it was worth more than $40 billion a year. This figure has shrunk since.

Another oil producing nation, Kuwait was the fourth best saver in 2014 with 49% of GDP. Kuwait has 10% of the world’s supply of oil, which made up for half of the Middle-Eastern nation’s GDP in 2014. Botswana finishes out the list of the top 5 countries with the highest annual gross savings (% of GDP) in 2014. Botswana is home to the world’s richest diamond mine and it’s one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Botswana had gross savings of 48% in 2014, up from 38% in 2011.

Country Industry Gross savings (% of GDP) 2014
1. Qatar Energy 58%
2.Macau SAR China Tourism 57%
3. China Manufacturing 49%
4. Kuwait Energy 49%
5. Botswana Mining 48%

Oil savings

The fortunes of some of the world’s top savers reflect the price of crude oil. Between 2008 and 2009, the price of crude oil fell by about $100 per barrel impacting the gross savings of oil-driven economies. Saudi Arabia dropped savings rates by 16.2% between 2008 and 2009, Algeria dropped 10.1% and crude-centric economy Kuwait saved 13.2% less over the same period.

Australia’s gross saving rates

Australia’s saving percentage has sat above the world average since 2009 when only 21.4% of the national GDP was saved. The data shows an upward trend for Australian gross savings to 23.9% in 2014. This matches the positive growth since the global financial crisis. Australia’s GDP grew by one hundred and seventy billion in 2015.

The countries with the lowest gross savings (% of GDP)

Afghanistan rounded out the list with negative figures. In 2009 and 2012, the gross savings of the Afghani government were 1.1% and 0.1% respectively. There is no data available for Afghanistan for the period before the second Iraq war. The South American nation of Guyana was second last with a gross annual savings of 3% of GDP in 2014.

Country Industry Gross savings (% of GDP) 2014
Montenegro Mining & processing 5%
Liberia Mining & processing 4%
Lebanon Banking & processing 4%
Guyana Agriculture & mining 3%
Afghanistan Agriculture -5%

Top 15 world’s best savers (% of GDP)

Here’s the World Bank data ranking different countries based on their annual gross savings as a % of the nation’s GDP.

Rank Country Region Industry % GDP Saved 2014
1 Qatar Middle East Energy 58%
2 Macao Asia Tourism 57%
3 China Asia Manufacturing 49%
4 Kuwait Middle East Energy 49%
5 Botswana Africa Mining 48%
6 Singapore Southeast Asia Financial services 47%
7 Philippines Southeast Asia Agriculture 46%
8 Algeria North Africa Energy 43%
9 Nepal Asia Agriculture 41%
10 Azerbaijan East Europe Energy 39%
11 Norway Western Europe Energy 38%
12 Bangladesh South-central Asia Manufacturing 38%
13 Republic of Korea Asia Electronics 35%
14 Bhutan South-central Asia Agriculture 35%
15 Switzerland Western Europe Financial services 32%

Who is the World Bank?

The World Bank Group is a number of institutions: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, The International Development Association, The International Finance Corporation, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

The World Bank Group has two goals: End extreme poverty by decreasing the percentage of people living on less than $1.90 to less than 3% and promote shared prosperity by fostering income growth of the bottom 40% of every country.

The World Bank works towards these goals by providing the following services: low interest loans, zero-to-low interest credit, investing in education, health, infrastructure, public administration, the environment and resource management, and more. The World Bank and the IMF operate under the United Nations.

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