Rates paid on annuities sold through banks crept down further in May.

The average base rate offered to buyers of annuities dipped to 5.13%, from 5.17% in April.

Bonus rates for first-time buyers fell to 6.01 % from April's level of 6.04%.

Kenneth Kehrer Associates, Princeton, N.J., computes the averages on the basis of a survey of 21 insurance companies that account for 87% of annuity sales through banks.

May marked the fourth straight month of declines in annuity rates, said Kenneth Kehrer, the president of the firm.

The rate decline dampened annuity sales in January and February, but sales rebounded in March and have remained steady since then, he added.

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