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China Property Market Beginning Collapse That May Hit Banks, Rogoff says

July 6 (Bloomberg) — China’s property market is beginning a “collapse” that will hit the nation’s banking system, said Kenneth Rogoff, the Harvard University professor and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund.

As China’s economy develops, “especially at the speed it’s growing, it’s going to have bumps,” said Rogoff, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Hong Kong. He also said that while recoveries across the global economy are “very slow,” the danger of a return to recession isn’t “elevated.”

Rogoff’s concern echoes that of investors, who sent China’s benchmark stock index to its worst loss in more than a year last week. China’s data have been a focus because the nation has led the global recovery from the worst postwar recession.

Chinese authorities have this year been trying to cool the economy as it expanded at an 11.9 percent annual pace in the first quarter, and to reduce property-market speculation. The central bank has told lenders to set aside more money as reserves, and targeted a 22 percent cut in credit growth at banks this year, to 7.5 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion).

The efforts have contributed to a slump in real-estate sales, while prices continue to climb. The value of property sales dropped 25 percent in May from the previous month.

“You’re starting to see that collapse in property and it’s going to hit the banking system,” Rogoff said today. “They have a lot of tools and some very competent management, but it’s not easy.”

Growth Outlook
Goldman Sachs last week cut its growth forecast for China this year to 10.1 percent from 11.4 percent because of the government’s monetary tightening measures.
Rogoff also said it’s unrealistic to expect China to continue growing its exports to the rest of the world “at the pace it’s been doing.”

“It’s impossible. At some point they have to redirect their strategy” for economic growth, he said.

For your info:
1) About one third of the total bank lending (about 40 trillion) is in real estate sector in China.
2) Most of the bank lending has used land and real estate properties as collateral.

Source: Bloomberg, 06.07.2010

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