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China's Urban Residents Unwilling to Consume
2006-03-19 10:32:22    chinanews.cn
(By Wei Xi) - The Central Bank conducted a questionnaire survey in 50 large, medium and small cities in China and discovered that urban residents' consumption intention dropped to an all-time low after three quarters of decline in a row.
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This decline should be mainly attributed to uncertainty of some future expenses and cooling of housing and auto consumption.

Amongst Chinese urban residents' motives for saving, expenditure on education always tops the list, followed by that on retirement planning, housing purchase and emergency. In view of needs in the future, most urban residents have no choice but to curb present consumption to increase deposits.

China's housing and auto consumption showed an evident downtrend in 2005 after a three-year consumption peak. The above mentioned survey indicates that based on 20,000 valid questionnaires, less than 19% of the surveyed intend to purchase an apartment in the coming three months, setting a new low. Judging from seven big Chinese cities involved in the survey, their residents' intention of buying an apartment stands at a low level, except for that of Chongqing and Xi'an. Urban residents' intention of buying a house shows an apparent descending trend in Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai.

In comparison with decline of consumption intention, China's urban residents regained their confidence in investment in stocks. Under the current level of prices and interest rates, 8% of the surveyed believe that investment in stocks or funds is the most cost-effective, rising 2.9 percentage points over the previous quarter. This indicates that urban residents are more confident of the securities market.
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