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Savers outnumber spenders

A RECORD number of China's urban residents said they are more inclined to save than to spend, a central bank survey said yesterday - a finding that seemed to contradict an actual rise in retail sales reported the same day.

Forty-seven percent of the respondents said they plan to save more in the future, up 9.5 percentage points from the previous quarterly survey, the People's Bank of China said. Those who plan more investment totaled 37.9 percent, up 8.8 points.

Only 15.1 percent of the respondents said that they will spend more in the future, down from 14.6 percentage points in the previous survey.

The central bank carried out the poll in late May among 20,000 residents of 50 Chinese cities. The survey, conducted every quarter since 1999, seeks to determine the savings, investment and spending plans of urban dwellers.

"The (figures show) that urban residents are more cautious now about spending as a result of uncertainty over their income prospects," the central bank said.

In fact, the number of people who said they are earning less these days was 8.6 percent above those who said their incomes rose in the past three months, also a record. In the first quarter, people who were earning more outnumbered those earning less by 28.6 percent.

Income expectations are falling as well. Only 3.4 percent of the respondents said they believe their salaries will rise in the future, while a quarter ago the figure was 17.7 percent.


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