BEIJING, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- Growth in China's household savings continues to slow down as people are throwing money into the red-hot stock market under lingering inflationary pressures.
Household savings in the country grew by 762.1 billion yuan (101.6 billion U.S. dollars) in the first nine months, compared with an increase of 1.73 trillion yuan in the same period a year ago, according to latest statistics from the central bank.
Investment funds and stocks are replacing bank deposits as the most important financial assets for Chinese families which used to put all their spare cash in banks but now hope to make a killing on the share market.
A survey by the central bank showed a record high of 35.6 percent of the 20,000 respondents in the third quarter rated investment funds and stocks as their most important assets, while 50.4 percent thought so about bank deposits, down from 70.4 percent at the beginning of last year.
The change in household assets was also being driven by an expectation for continuing inflation, said Zhu Haibin, analyst with the Shenzhen-based Essence Securities.
One-year deposits currently carry an interest rate of 3.87 percent in China, but the actual yield is much lower than the full-year inflation rate of 4.5 percent as recently predicted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the government's think tank.
A record high of 44.3 percent of the respondents believed "it pays to invest in the stock market", while only 25.3 percent favored more bank deposits, despite five interest rate hikes so far this year.
Due to food price hikes, China's consumer price index, the key gauge of inflation, was an 11-year-high of 6.5 percent in August.
Forty-seven percent of the respondents deemed the price level in the third quarter "difficult to accept" and a record high of 61.3 percent expected prices to go on rising for the rest of the year.