China Property Investment Remains Intact
China’s solid property sector remains intact.
Growth in the cost of new housing in China’s major cities rose in February in the latest indication of the property market since the country’s premier reiterated that housing was “not for speculation”.
The average cost of new housing in 70 major cities rose 5.2% year on year on in February, according to a weighted average from Reuters based on official data from China’s National Bureau of statistics (NBS). China’s home prices continue to be stable in February, an NBS statement said.
That was up from the 5% increase in the previous month.
House prices ended a 12-month streak of deceleration in December, rising 5.3% year on year.
Prices rose in 59 out of 70 cities last month, with the cost of housing falling in nine cities and steady in two.
New house prices in Beijing and Shanghai eased 0.3% and 0.6% year on year, respectively, while prices in Tianjin were up 0.6% and in Guangzhou prices climbed 3.1%
According to Reuters month-on-month terms, prices rose 0.2% nationwide, easing from 0.3% growth in January.
But the Wall Street Journal reported that growth in home prices in China plateaued in February
The average price of new homes in 70 cities rose 0.2% in February from January, excluding government-subsidised housing, according to figures computed by the paper from NBS data
Compared with the same period a year earlier, average new-home prices rose 5.8% in February, versus January’s 5.4% rate.
New-home prices rose in 44 of 70 cities in February from a month earlier, compared with 52 in January.
Prices of new homes rose in 59 of 70 cities in February from a year earlier, the same as in January.
Meanwhile China announced yesterday that it it gone for continuity and stability in the selection of a new central bank governor.
The government confirmed speculation that Yi Gang, a US-trained economist, will lead the People’s Bank of China, replacing longtime governor Zhou Xiaochuan.
Yi’s appointment was approved Monday by the National People’s Congress.
He has been deputy governor of the central bank since 2008.
Zhou led China's central bank for 15 years. Yi, 60, has a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and taught at the University of Indiana.
He is a veteran central banker and is known for pushing pro-market overhauls for the world’s second-largest economy.
President Xi Jinping also promoted economic adviser Liu He to vice premier.
And Japanese exports rose for the 15th month in a row in February, thanks to strong worldwide demand for cars, while imports were driven higher by extra shipments of LNG.
Japan’s finance ministry reported on Monday that exports rose 1.8% from February 2017, the slowest pace of growth in that 15 month period.
Japan's monthly trade balance was a surplus of Y3.4 billion.
Imports also increased in January, rising 16.5 per cent year on year, though short of the 17.1 per cent increase forecast by economists. Those numbers shook out to a trade surplus of ¥3.4bn.
Japanese exports to the US rose 4.3% on the same month in 2017 while those to China and Asia declined by 9.7% and 3.2%, respectively.
Imports also increased in January, rising 16.5% year on year.
The trade surplus with the U.S. in February rose 3.4% from a year earlier to Y630.9 billion.
The data come amid rising global trade tensions as President Donald Trump’s administration rolls out tariffs on steel and aluminium imports to counter what it claims are unfair trade practices.
Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.
At the AFR he was a finance writer, Finance Editor, News Editor and Chief of Staff. At the Nine Network he was supervising producer of Business Sunday for more than 16 years. He has also written for other online and analogue print publications here and overseas.