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Households with two or more members held average total savings of 17.28 million yen in 2005, up 2.1 percent from 16.92 million yen the previous year, the government said Friday.

The rise reflects a 22.7 percent increase in the value of securities held by households, as the stock market rallied strongly, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.

The figures indicate a shift in household assets into higher-yield instruments, including stocks and investment trusts, amid continued low interest rates and signs of economic recovery.

Average household liabilities fell 4.4 percent to 5.01 million yen, due largely to a 6.3 percent fall in the value of real estate loans, which account for more than 80 percent of the total.

The average ratio of savings to annual income rose 7.6 percentage points to 267.9 percent, with 67.3 percent of households surveyed below the average, down 0.3 point from 2004.

Households with less than 2 million yen in savings made up the largest share, at 14.1 percent of the total, up 0.3 point.