Danes pile up record amount of cash in banks

August 25, 2016 6:28 AM EDT

Coins in a cash-box of Danish crowns are pictured in a pub in Copenhagen, January 22, 2015. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danes had placed a record 893 billion Danish crowns ($135.3 billion) in cash in banks at end of July, bolstering Denmark's financial security but causing problems for growth, analysts said.

Danish banks have provided 510 billion crowns worth of loans to individuals, leaving a deposit surplus of 383 billion crowns, the highest ever according to Denmark's central bank.

"It is good news that the Danes can withstand a downturn but on the other hand it shows how difficult it is to lift the growth," analyst Mikkel Hoegh from BRFkredit wrote in a note.

The level of deposits was up 2 percent from a year ago, and 24.5 percent higher than before the financial crisis in 2008. At same time retail sales fell 2 percent in July from a year earlier, data from Denmark's statistics office showed.

"The numbers showed clearly how vulnerable the economic upswing is," analyst Soren V. Kristensen from Sydbank said.

Analysts said memories of the financial crisis, which was followed by the bursting of Denmark's property bubble, were encouraging Danes to keep adding to their savings.

"The large savings must be viewed in the light of how the financial crisis affected consumption behavior. We have become more cautious," said chief economist Steen Bocian from lobby group Confederation of Danish Enterprise wrote.

The Danish economy has only seen modest growth since the 2008-2009 financial crisis and a Reuters poll earlier in August showed a forecast of 1.0 percent growth in 2016.

The rise of deposits in Danish banks has happened in spite of the banks paying very little or no interest on deposits as a result of the Danish central bank having kept its key interest rate in negative territory since Sept 2014.

Denmark's key interest rate is currently at -0.65 percent.

Denmark's largest financial institution Danske Bank said in July the central bank's negative deposit rates have cost the bank around 2 billion crowns in 2015.

Along with Swiss banks large Danish banks have operated in markets with negative interest rates for the longest period.

($1 = 6.6018 Danish crowns)

(Reporting by Ole Mikkelsen; Editing by Dominic Evans)

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