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The rich tend to invest in housing, stocks

By Wei Tian | China Daily | Updated: 2013-02-07 11:24

Wealthy families in China are becoming increasingly willing to invest in real estate and the stock market, fueled by rising confidence in the economy, according to a key index.

The Climate Index of China's Wealth, compiled by Bank of Communications, gained 12 points to 129, much higher than the same period last year, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The index, released once every two months, was based on a survey of nearly 2,000 families who have annual after-tax income of more than 50,000 yuan ($8,020).

The index takes into account the surveyed families' income growth and investment return over the past six months, as well as their expectations for the next six months. A level above 100 suggests their wealth has been expanding, while a level below 100 means contraction.

All three sub-indicators of the headline index, on the macro-economy, income growth, and investment willingness, indicate expansion, with the macro economy sub-index rising the most, at 17 points.

Lian Ping, chief economist with the bank, said a warming economy, improving company profits, and better market liquidity have led to a strong capital market recently, and "optimism is spreading in the market with the continuous upward trend".

The Shanghai Composite Index has increased steadily, rising more than 20 percent over the past two months, from 1,959 on Dec 3 to 2,434 at Wednesday's close.

The survey found wealthy families are becoming increasingly willing to invest, not only in the stock market, but on the futures market as well.

Fixed-income wealth management products and noble metals - those that are resistant to corrosion and oxidation in moist air - remain the top two choices on the "to invest" list among the families surveyed, with willingness to invest in these products still increasing.

But the stock market remains the place where most of the families surveyed put their money, followed by fund investment and fixed-income wealth management products.

Willingness to buy properties is at its highest for the past 30 months, the survey showed, with more families expecting a rise in housing prices.

"A bullish property market was the result of an increasing income level among residents, and an increasing sales volume encouraging more buyers to enter the market," Lian said.

Land sales figures in China's 10 key cities almost tripled in January, while new-home prices rose 1 percent last month, the eighth consecutive monthly increase.

The survey recorded the sharpest rise in the willingness to buy property was among families with after-tax annual income of between 100,000 and 300,000 yuan, while those with annual income of more than 300,000 yuan or less than 100,000 yuan are less inclined to invest in housing.

Half of the families surveyed said they are satisfied with their current income level, and most expect an income rise in the future, according to the survey.

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