The amount of money saved by Irish households last month rose by €1.3bn, latest data from the Central Bank of Ireland shows.

This compares to a decrease of €1.4bn in November.

The growth brings to €136bn the total savings held by Irish households at the end of last year.

This represents a total increase in deposits throughout the course of the year of €11.3bn or 9.1%, as people exercised more caution on spending and had fewer opportunities to spend due to the pandemic.

In comparison, net lending to households rose by €272m in December, and €661m throughout the whole year.

This represents a 0.8% rise compared to 2020. During that year, net lending actually fell by €81m.

Net consumer lending fell for the first time in a number of months, with repayments surpassing new borrowing by €74m in December and decreasing by €37m during the 12 months of 2021.

This compares to net repayments of €580m in 2020.

But loans for house purchase rose in net terms by €657m during the last three months of the year, up slightly on the same period last year.

Annually, lending for homes stayed more or less stable over the final months of 2021, standing at 1.2 per cent in December 2021, up from 0.9 per cent a year earlier.