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Economist and executive director of the Blazer International Fund Oleg Ustenko comments findings of the research “Money in life of Ukrainians” which was carried out by Research & Branding Group Company.
The most terrifying thing in the above mentioned research concerns savings. If we talk about the fact that 40% of the population does not have savings then I have a question: according to different estimates, in Ukraine from 30 to 80 billion dollars of savings are “under mattresses”. If the average figure is 50 billion dollars, then it turns out that 60% of the population owners these 50 billion. In addition, I believe that respondents, who answered “I have enough savings for less than a month”, “For a month” or “For two months”, can be subsumed to “I have no savings” option. And if you add these three options to 40% of those who have no savings – it will be a catastrophic figure of 73%. It turns out that 73% of the population lives with little or no savings. And this is despite the fact that about 50 billion dollars are in hands of minority group - 30% of the total population. I think that when people tell “I have enough savings for 3-4 months” and “For more than a year”, we are talking about average earnings in the country. According to the statistics, average salary in the country is about 200 dollars a month or about 5,000 hryvnia. This means that if we do not take into account those who are undecided, only about 15% of the population feels relatively secure. It turns out that these 15% can more or less normally subsist about 6 months. That is, those who feel relatively secure have about 15 thousand dollars in hand, which makes it possible to consider them relatively insured against serious cataclysms. 15% of the population has 15 thousand dollars in hand. It is disastrously low. This is typical of a very poor country. That is, we are talking about five million people who have such sums of money in hand. If five million people have about 15 thousand dollars of savings in hand that makes them feel relatively secure, so we are talking about 8-10 billion dollars that are kept either “under mattresses” or in banks. Then the question arises, who are those who own this difference between supposed 50 billion dollars and 10 billion dollars in hands of the population? It turns out that the others have about 40 billion dollars in hand, while the wealthiest part of the population feels secure and manages funds in the amount of 10 billion dollars.
This may mean only one thing - the coefficient of social stratification is disastrously high! This is an indication of the fact that social tensions may flare up, and under certain circumstances the flash may be sharp and quick. The research results are testament to the fact that in Ukraine the coefficient of social stratification (Gini coefficient) is too high – it is much higher than in the countries where it is traditionally considered to be high. For example, historically this coefficient is lower in Europe than in the US. But we have it much higher than the maximum permissible one.
Regional breakdown shows that in Western Ukraine people are richer than the national average. It is indicative that they have more savings and they are enough for a longer period. Perhaps that is why euro savings indicator is so high, because the population of western regions keeps money in this currency. This is explained by the fact that they travel to Europe. It is indicative that population in the western part of the country monitors various trends in foreign exchange markets and more closely follows situation with exchange rates.