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Thursday, June 03, 2010

WSJ: China's Property Market Freezes Up

by Calculated Risk on 6/03/2010 11:59:00 PM

The WSJ has an article tonight about the Chinese real estate market and the recent government actions: China's Property Market Freezes Up

Beijing in mid-April announced a package of policies intended to blow the froth out of the market by restricting speculative purchases. ... The housing market in many—though not all—Chinese cities seems to have nearly ground to a halt after the government moves. On average, the number of residential property transactions in the four weeks after the restrictions were announced is down 40% compared with the four weeks before the measures
This slowdown is showing up in commodity prices. A key question is how the Chinese government will react.

Professor Michael Pettis, of the Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management, expects the Chinese government to take action to cushion the slow down, see Beijing’s stop-and-go measures: As
I have said many times before, I suspect we will see a lot of discontinuity in policymaking this year – amid lots of panicking – and recent events show just how. In the past few months Beijing seems to have become so worried about signs of overheating that, after trying unsuccessfully many times to pare growth carefully, it has given up the scalpel and has brought out the sledgehammer.
Given the bad global environment, China’s huge domestic imbalances, and its out-of-control monetary condition, there are precious few tools Beijing has for fine-tuning growth. Instead policymakers are going to switch back and forth throughout the year between stomping on the accelerator and stomping on the brakes.
It could be a wild ride.