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    Gavekal Research

    5C China: Property's Supply-Side Correction Continues

    Over the past few months, the long-running decline in China’s housing sales has clearly bottomed and started to improve. December’s sales decline was just 4% YoY, compared to the 16% drop in July. But while this kind of improvement in previous cycles would have translated into a similar turnaround in construction activity, that has not been forthcoming this time.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    5C Asia: Hong Kong's Pro-Cyclical Property Roller Coaster

    Nowhere is the US Federal Reserve’s eventual decision to raise interest rates awaited with greater trepidation than in Hong Kong’s property market. The territory’s currency board link to the US dollar means that Hong Kong had no choice but to import US interest rates when the Fed cut its own benchmark short term rate to zero at the end of 2008. With safe haven funds flooding into the city’s financial system, Hong Kong banks cut their residential...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    China: More Pain Than Gain

    China is in for a rough year. The economy is in its most fragile state since 1998, at the nadir of the Asian financial crisis. Gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of just 6.1% in the last quarter of 2014, and most key indicators suggest that the first half of 2015 is unlikely to be much better. Industrial profits are weakening sharply, which is likely to dampen wage growth and consumption—the two bright spots over the last couple...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    More Pain Than Gain

    China is in for a rough year. The economy is in its most fragile state since 1998, at the nadir of the Asian financial crisis. Gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of just 6.1% in the last quarter of 2014, and most key indicators suggest that the first half of 2015 is unlikely to be much better. Industrial profits are weakening sharply, which is likely to dampen wage growth and consumption—the two bright spots over the last couple...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    CEQ: The Xi Jinping Scorecard

    How is Xi Jinping doing? A year after the landmark Third Plenum at which China's leader laid out his vision for reforming China, this issue of the CEQ takes a close look at the progress of the reform program. Our expert contributors assess the achievements and the shortfalls, the winners and the losers.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Housing & Construction Review

    Is the latest downturn in China’s housing market just another cyclical correction, or the bursting of an unsustainable bubble? To cut through the confusion surrounding this key part of the economy, it is crucial to understand the fundamentals. In this chartbook, our annual review of the housing and construction market, Rosealea explains our outlook for the long-term prospects for housing demand in China; explores the implication of changing...

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    Gavekal Research

    China's Rate Cut: Diminished Returns

    First the Bank of Japan, then the European Central Bank, now comes the People’s Bank of China. On Friday evening the PBOC cut its benchmark interest rates for the first time since July 2012. The direction of the move had long been foreseen, but the timing of the announcement came as a surprise. We had expected concerns over China’s high levels of domestic debt would enable the central bank to resist pressure to cut rates until the first quarter...

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    A Creditless Recovery For Housing?

    The extended decline in China’s housing sales is finally showing clear signs of reaching a bottom. The latest data show the decline in national property sales narrowed sharply in October, with volumes dropping just 1.6% after a 10.3% fall in September. And the daily transaction figures reported by a number of major cities suggest market activity continued strengthening in November. This improvement is primarily a response to the favorable...

    10
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Housing’s Next Decade

    China’s housing market is not collapsing, but it is maturing and will decline. Our model shows that China’s housing demand is past its high-growth phase, and has been bouncing around its peak level since 2011. We project construction volume will decline 15-20% from current levels by 2025, hurting demand for steel and other construction materials.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    The Inexorable Decline Of China's Housing Market

    Since the turn of the century, China’s booming housing market has been one of the most important drivers of the global economy. Between 2000 and 2013, annual housing completions tripled. Largely because of the demand from housing and related infrastructure, Chinese steel use quadrupled. Prices of iron ore and many other commodities soared.

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Hong Kong's Democracy Protests

    The inhabitants of Hong Kong were treated over the weekend to the unusual spectacle of police battling political protesters in the city’s streets. Baton charges and volleys of tear gas might be common enough tactics in New York or London, but not in Asia’s leading international financial center. The rapid escalation of the protests over the weekend and the police’s strong-arm response shocked locals, and triggered a -2% fall in the city’s...

    6
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Property Digs A Deeper Hole

    China’s local governments held a party for the housing market, but no one came. Most major cities (with some exceptions including Beijing and Shanghai) have rolled back measures restricting housing purchases since June, but housing sales are still weak. Previously, we had argued that the combination of a pickup in credit growth and the relaxation of purchase restrictions would help the downturn in property sales find a bottom relatively soon (...

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Slums Are Still With Us

    One of the paradoxes of China’s housing market is that excess supply in many areas coexists with a shortage of housing for the worst-off. We have long argued that a significant portion of the Chinese urban population is under-housed, lacking access to modern living arrangements. Given continued worries over excess housing supply in China, we recently decided to test this analysis by re-estimating the housing stock from different data sources....

    15
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    Gavekal Research

    China Avoids A Summer Soft Patch

    Has China’s growth hit yet another soft patch? Growth disappointed early in 2014 as a property downturn led to severe pain in construction and heavy industry, prompting the government to ease up on fiscal and monetary policy. Better data in May and June seemed to show that looser policy had succeeded—until a suite of surprisingly weak readings in July raised the prospect that the mini-recovery had just been a mirage. Particularly concerning was...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Housing’s Quiet Period Is Over

    A turning point in China’s housing policy has arrived, half a year into a downturn in property sales and construction. Since late June, major cities such as Hohhot, Jinan, Haikou, Tianjin and Chengdu have moved to support their housing markets. This is a change from earlier months, when local governments were more hesitant and often failed to publicize their policies, limiting their effect. The central government’s implicit approval of the new...

    4
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Fears For China's Growth Postponed

    The Chinese government has once again successfully stabilized the economy. Spooked by decelerating growth and a property market correction early in the year, the government has spent the last few months loosening credit and rolling out supportive policies. Today’s economic data release showed the pay-off: GDP growth in the second quarter picked up slightly to 7.5%, beating expectations it would be flat at 7.4%. This means that investors’ fears...

    1
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Wrong Kind Of Leverage

    For years now the Chinese government has been trying to make it easier for private-sector firms to borrow. Its recent measures to encourage bank lending have privileged those banks that lend more loans to (overwhelmingly private) small and medium-sized enterprises. This is a worthy goal: since private firms make much higher returns on investment than their clumsy state-owned cousins, economic growth will get a boost if private firms borrow and...

    0
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    Gavekal Research

    Five Corners (25 June)

    In the latest bi-weekly review of global economics and investment:

    0
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    More Postcards From The Edge Of Sichuan

    Two years ago, we visited a small rural county near the southern edge of Sichuan province, whose residents and officials were able to give us some insights as to how central government policy was being implemented at the grassroots level (see Postcards From The Edge Of Sichuan). Since then, a new administration has come to power, which is trying to shake up how local government works. So we recently paid a return visit to the place we call...

    2
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    Gavekal Research

    China Property: How Bad Can It Get?

    The critical question in China today is the direction of the property market. Are we finally seeing the long overdue, bloody end to a mammoth housing bubble? Or is this simply a cyclical correction, similar to previous downturns in 2008 and 2012, that will quickly reverse after modest price cuts and an easing of credit?

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