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US wealth hits new record in 1Q 2014

American household wealth reached a new record in the first quarter of 2014 thanks to a rising stock market and an improving housing market, according to US data released.

NEW YORK:  American household wealth reached a new record in the first quarter of 2014 thanks to a rising stock market and an improving housing market, according to US data released on Thursday.

The wealth of US households and non-profits jumped US$1.5 billion in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of 2013 to reach US$81.8 trillion, a new record, according to a US Federal Reserve report. The data do not take into account inflation.

The increase included a rise of US$361 billion in the value of directly and indirectly held corporate equities and an increase of US$751 billion in the value of real estate, the Fed said.

The rise came despite a cold winter during which US economic growth fell one per cent in the first quarter as hiring and economic activity slowed down.

Household debt edged up at an annual rate of two per cent in the first quarter, the Fed said. The central bank said net originations of home mortgages remained "weak," while consumer credit rose at the same level as the previous two years.

Non-financial business debt rose at an annual rate of 7.3 per cent in the first quarter after a 6.6 per cent increase in the fourth quarter. Corporate bonds accounted for most of the increase, the Fed said.

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