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Wednesday , March 29 2023

COVID impacts spend, savings among Kuwaitis

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KUWAIT CITY, Aug 1 : The coronavirus situation had an impact on spending for Kuwaitis, especially during the lockdown period and the decrease in spending on travelling and other entertainment means. The COVID-19-imposed lifestyle forced many Kuwaitis to save more money from their salaries as markets, stores, cinema, gyms and beauty salons closed and people had to stay home, as well as the exemption from paying monthly installments for a year. The lack of investment means provided by local banks led the Central Bank of Kuwait to encourage citizens on saving money and to invest, as part of its campaign “let’s be aware.” In the light of the drop in profit rate and fear of investing in shares and real estate that the pandemic brought, Kuwaitis headed towards buying luxury items such as expensive watches and gold with their savings.

In statements to KUNA, a number of citizens agreed that the pandemic affected their money spending rate, as they turned from consumption to saving. They added that they spent more money on food items, online shopping and entertainment games and less on travelling and restaurants. Sara Al-Mazyad noted that postponing monthly installment for banks for six months allowed her to save the money she used to pay for installments every month. She saved money worth KD 1,500 (US 4,800), which she used to spend on cafes and shopping. Al-Mazyad added that she thought of investing in her savings with something useful, but with the lack of investment options currently, she turned to buying gold.

On his part, Hamad Al-Salem said he wasn’t able to save his installment during the lockdown, as he spent it on online shopping and buying entertainment items for his kids. He noted that staying home for a long time can lead to “emotional shopping,” buying unneccessary items out of boredom and stress.

Meanwhile, Omar Al-Mutawaa said that online studying for children allowed him to save more money which he used to spend on buying school items and requirements for his three kids. According to the Central Statistical Bureau, there are 323,358 Kuwaitis working in the public sector with an average salary of KD 1,520 (about USD 4,850), who were able to save money after the installment exemption.

Moreover, CBK announced that deposits in local banks rose 4.1 percent during 2020, reaching its highest record at KD 61 billion, with 78.1 percent being from local sources. On his part, CEO of the Shared Electronic Banking Services Company (Knet) Abdullah Al-Ajmi affirmed that the company cannot monitor saving, spending or investment rate, however, it can monitor money withdrawal or payment. (KUNA)