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Business

Shareholder confidence returns to Germany

Low yields on their savings have prompted many Germans to overcome their traditional wariness of shares and invest in stocks again. And with the euro crisis lingering on, the trend looks set to continue for a while.

Germans' interest in buying shares has increased considerably amid the current eurozone debt crisis, the German Shareholders' Institute (DAI) reported on Tuesday. It said owning shares had become attractive again for many citizens with alternative ways of investment being far less lucrative.

With bank-based yields on savings failing to even make up for inflation-related losses, 1.5 million Germans more bought shares in the first half of the current years, the DAI said. It added that a total of 10.2 million Germans were now shareholders which accounted for 15.2 percent of the overall population.

The Frankfurt-based research institute said the shareholder rate thus almost reached levels seen in 2007 before the outbreak of the global financial crisis.

Uncertainties remain

The lowest number of shareholders was recorded towards the end of 2010, but the DAI said some two million Germans had since returned to the stock market.

"Basically all former shareholders who opted out when the financial crisis hit the country have now come back," DAI Director Franz-Josef Leven said in a statement.

But it's still a long way towards reaching participation levels after the turn of the millennium when altogether 13 million citizens were carried away by the stock market boom of 2001. But even that number revealed that Germans were much more cautious about buying shares than people in many other industrialized nations around the globe.

hg/   (dpa, AFP)