Tuesday, 18 January 2011

China's property prices rise, stocks plunge

China's property prices continued to creep up in December. AFP/CNA reports:

Property prices in China's major cities posted their fourth straight month-on-month rise in December and sales picked up pace, data showed Monday, despite official efforts to cool the market.

Prices in 70 major cities were up 0.3 percent last month from November and were 6.4 percent higher than a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.

The month-on-month gain in November was also 0.3 percent. The annualised surge peaked in April, when prices soared 12.8 percent, but growth has slowed since then...

Sales in terms of floor space rose 10.1 percent to 1.04 billion square metres (11.23 billion square feet) in 2010, the statement said, without specifying the monthly figure for December.

Chinese stocks haven't enjoyed the same degree of buoyancy recently, and certainly not on Monday. Bloomberg reports:

China’s stocks plunged, driving the benchmark index down the most in two months, as the central bank ordered banks to set aside more reserves and rising property prices signaled policy tightening measures may be expanded...

The Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 84.7, or 3 percent, to 2,706.66 at the 3 p.m. close, the most since Nov. 16. The CSI 300 Index slid 3.8 percent to 2,974.35, the lowest since Sept. 30. The Shanghai measure has fallen 3.6 percent in 2011. It extended last year’s 14 percent plunge, the most among the world’s 10 biggest stock markets, after Premier Wen Jiabao’s government ordered six increases in reserve requirements and boosted interest rates twice in 2010 to curb asset bubbles after record gains in lending and property prices.

Some analysts think things could change.

China’s bank reserve-ratio increase doesn’t change the “quite positive” outlook for the nation’s stocks, which will be boosted by the expanding economy and improving earnings, said Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.

“Rising rates are more illustrative of a more robust growth outlook while rising inflation spurs nominal earnings,” said Emil Wolter, Singapore-based head of Asian regional equity at RBS. “The market will likely take this move in its stride.”

The CSI 300 Index may advance 28 percent this year, as investors shift to equities from banking deposits because of accelerating inflation and earnings growth prospects, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The CSI 300 will likely rise to 4,000 by the end of 2011, compared with the close of 3,128.26 last year, analysts led by Hanfeng Wang wrote in a report dated today.

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