The amount of money Irish households are saving increased by over €637m to stand at €12.866 billion in 2011.

Preliminary figures from the Central Statistics Office also reveal that households' disposal income fell from €89.18 billion in 2010 to €88.825 billion last year - a fall of €356m.

Household consumption expenditure fell by 1.2% from €79.292 billion to €78.347 billion during the year, the CSO added.

Today's figures show an improvement in the Government's savings deficit.

The CSO says that the gross savings of the Government amounted to a deficit of €10.631 billion in 2011 compared to a deficit of €13.025 billion the previous year.

The CSO says this is due to higher taxes, with taxes on income and wealth at €18.344 billion, an increase of almost €2 billion in 2011.