• Kyodo News

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The outstanding balance of financial assets held by households at the end of March hit its lowest level in five years, due largely to stock market declines blamed on the global financial crisis, the Bank of Japan said Wednesday.

The balance as determined by the central bank’s quarterly survey fell 3.7 percent from a year earlier to ¥1.410 quadrillion for the sixth consecutive quarter of decline, providing the latest evidence that the fallout from the financial crisis has reached households.

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