Major Deflationary Signal

China Property Market ‘Bubble’ Set to Burst, Xie Says (Update1)

Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- China’s property market “bubble” is set to burst as the government curbs credit growth and clamps down on speculation, according to independent economist Andy Xie.

As bank lending slows, “it’s very difficult to see this demand continuing,” Xie, formerly Morgan Stanley’s chief Asian economist, told Bloomberg Television in Hong Kong today.

Tougher property policies may lower 2010 sales volumes 10 percent, compared with an earlier forecast for growth of as much as 5 percent, BNP Paribas said in a report today. The Shanghai Composite Index has slid 10 percent this year, the worst performer among the 94 global gauges tracked by Bloomberg, on concern that China will add further lending curbs.

Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng said Jan. 31 property prices are “too high,” undermining sustainable development of the nation’s commercial hub. Asset bubbles are the “real worry” as China emerges from the global financial crisis into a “boom time,” central bank advisor Fan Gang said in Beijing yesterday.

Residential and commercial property prices in 70 Chinese cities rose 7.8 percent in December from a year earlier, the fastest pace in 18 months, the National Development and Reform Commission said. China’s economy expanded 10.7 percent in the fourth quarter, as the government’s 4 trillion yuan stimulus package and a record 9.59 trillion yuan of new loans last year fueled the fastest growth in two years.


The government last month raised the amount of money banks are required to keep as reserves and re-imposed a sales tax on homes sold within five years of their purchase. Premier Wen Jiabao pledged in December to stabilize property prices, crack down on speculation and keep housing affordable.

The government told banks to raise interest rates on third mortgages and demand bigger down-payments, a person with knowledge of the matter said. The China Banking Regulatory Commission warned lenders of the risks from “hot money” flowing into the property market, the person said, requesting anonymity because the agency hasn’t published the measures. Mortgage defaults are rising, the person said, without giving figures.

“We’re seeing some significant measures that have been introduced in the last couple of weeks,” Xie said. “If these changes are implemented, the demand from third-flat buyers is going to dry up and it’s going to have a major impact.


As the total money supply starts to shrink in China once lending volumes drop, we could see the Chinese economy change from suffering inflationary pressures to deflationary ones like Japan did in the early 1990s.