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New stock accounts opened at furious pace

THE number of new stock accounts opened last week reached an 18-month high, reflecting growing positive sentiment among retail investors in the Chinese equity market.

Data from the China Securities Depository and Clearing Corp Ltd showed that a total of 565,229 new A-share stock accounts were opened last week, compared with 484,799 a week earlier - the biggest increase since January 2008.

Last week, 108,932 new mutual fund accounts were opened - the most since February 2008 - and up from 91,132 the previous week.

"People's enthusiasm has returned," said Zhang Qi, an analyst at Haitong Securities Co. "Investors who put their money on hold have returned to the market and it is a good sign that the market's performance will be sustained."

China's stock market has been the world's best performer so far this year. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index has advanced nearly 70 percent from a year earlier.

The climb was fueled by stronger economic growth. The government's stance of maintaining a proactive fiscal policy and a relatively easy monetary policy has also contributed to the market's rise.

China's gross domestic product grew 7.1 percent in the first half of this year, a strong result amid the global economic recession.

The number of China's active A-share accounts rose to 24.1 million last Friday, the most since the company released such data in 2008 and quadrupling last year's low.


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