Headline statistics on the Chinese property market continue to relay a picture of virtually unrelieved gloom. However, in one small but important area, market pressures appear to be easing.
All year long Chinese banks have tightened up on mortgage lending to both first time buyers and purchasers of second homes, withdrawing discounts on mortgage loans and restricting loan growth – and thereby depressing buying activity.
However, this changed in August, with banks switching course to offer softer terms on mortgage loans, research companies said. Continue reading »
A huge bonfire of the brands awaits auto manufacturers in China as some 90m car owners prepare to disregard loyalty when they chose their next model.
A survey of some 2,400 car owners conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found an itch to switch brands among 83 per cent of respondents who drove domestic Chinese brand cars. Of these, only 30 per cent said they would drive another domestic brand as their next car, while a full 40 per cent said they planned to plump for a Volkswagen.
The findings suggest that the next big trend for auto manufacturers in the Chinese market – which has expanded tenfold since 2000 to register annual sales of around 20m units – may not be so much concerned with chasing growth as with inculcating brand loyalty. Continue reading »
Wealth is not necessarily translating into health for China’s growing cohort of millionaires, many of whom complain of eating disorders, too much alcohol and an average of just 6.2 hours of sleep a night (see chart).
Fast living is blamed for a variety of ailments, with around a third of millionaires (those with a personal wealth of Rmb10m or US$1.6m, £1m) suffering from insomnia, headaches, fatigue and memory loss while smaller proportions endure hair loss, immune problems, numb limbs and smokers’ coughs, according to a survey by Hurun Research Institute released on Friday.
Such conditions underpin a burgeoning demand among wealthy Chinese for products, treatments and lifestyle choices that are thought to confer health. “There is a clear trend among the Chinese millionaire class towards exercise, eating more carefully and generally taking better care of their bodies,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman of the Hurun Report. Continue reading »
By Rafael Halpin, China Confidential
For a sector regularly called “the most important in the universe”, there is a remarkable lack of consensus over the Chinese housing market. Much of the debate boils down to whether China is currently under- or over-supplied with homes.
The absence of any comprehensive data on just how many houses there are in China, has led to wildly divergent views. But, as we will seek to demonstrate in this article, despite the lack of any solid data on the total number of homes in China, it is still possible to present a strong statistical case that the market is currently under-supplied with modern housing. Continue reading »
By Andrew Colquhoun, Fitch Ratings
Does China invest too much? The country has been investing about 48 per cent of its GDP annually since 2010, which is unprecedented for any decent-sized economy, post-war. This investment is funded by a stock of leverage that will reach about 230 per cent of GDP in 2014 on Fitch’s estimate. Everyone has heard about the ghost towns and empty airports, leading some analysts to conclude China must be heading for a reckoning.
But you do not have to look far for evidence that China remains an underdeveloped country. Its rail network is only 13 per cent as extensive as Japan’s and only 64 per cent of its roads are paved, according to the World Bank. Almost exactly four years ago, one of the country’s main arteries, Highway 110, saw a 60-mile, 10-day traffic jam. Continue reading »
By Bo Zhuang of Trusted Sources
Overhauling state-owned enterprises (SOEs) is key to the Chinese growth story for the next 10 years. But, while the approach being taken by the Xi Jinping leadership acknowledges the need for change, it also stresses the parallel need to strengthen the Communist Party State. This could mean reform will take a rather different form to the assumptions of markets, which have risen on the back of expectations of market-friendly change. Continue reading »
Chopsticks are the ultimate mature technology, unimproved for thousands of years. But now a Chinese internet company has upgraded them to tackle a very modern challenge.
Baidu, the search engine, unveiled yesterday a prototype pair of “smart” chopsticks to form the last line of defence in Chinese diners’ battle against “gutter oil” and other food scares. Continue reading »
As rumours swirl about the design of Apple’s iPhone 6 ahead of its hotly anticipated debut next week, economists have made some more hard-headed – but no less remarkable – predictions about its impact.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research has estimated that the “expected large scale” of sales of the iPhone 6 will push up GDP in Taiwan by 40 basis points this year, add 1 percentage point a month to China’s export growth for the rest of 2014 and boost Taiwan’s export growth by around 2 percentage points a month between August and October and then 1 percentage point a month until January 2015. Continue reading »
As the global automotive industry continues its recovery there is particularly bright news for investors in OEMs (original-equipment manufacturers – otherwise known as automakers) that are focused on emerging markets.
The global automotive industry has been more successful than most at producing investor value, says the Boston Consulting Group in a recent report, A Comeback in the Making. Component manufacturers posted a median annual total shareholder return (TSR) – a measure of the value a company creates for its shareholders – of 33 per cent between 2009 and 2013, while OEMs produced a TSR of 29 per cent in the same period. Compare this to a 21 per cent TSR for the 26 global industries tracked by BCG.
But it was carmakers focused on emerging markets that were especially successful at pushing up value for shareholders. Continue reading »
By Gordon French, HSBC
China has been the growth story of the past three decades. It has also been largely out of reach for portfolio investors. That is about to change.
Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect opens a new chapter in China’s financial integration with the world, and will in time reshape the dynamics of global investment flows.
Expected to launch in October, Stock Connect will for the first time allow mainland Chinese citizens to invest directly in foreign equities, and give global investors direct access to China’s stock market. Continue reading »
Free-trade champion Mexico is on a reform drive that promises new openness in key sectors of its economy, especially energy. So what is it doing slapping protectionist measures on its shoe industry?
Fighting unfair competition from China, officials say.
The raft of new measures to protect Mexico’s industry – which makes 240m pairs of shoes a year – sounds distinctly off message, especially since President Enrique Peña Nieto has made boosting trade ties with China a priority. (He met his Chinese counterpart three times within six months to forge closer relations.) Continue reading »
By Hayden Briscoe and Hua Cheng, AllianceBernstein
In spite of worries about a collapse in China’s property market, we think that the financial system will navigate the coming credit cycle if banks can buy time to resolve loan problems — and receive government support if needed. Continue reading »
By Hayden Briscoe and Jenny Zeng, AllianceBernstein.
Concerns about a possible collapse in China’s property market continue to grow. However, our research suggests that fundamentals are more robust than many people think. The biggest danger lies in the potential for policy mistakes.
Investors are understandably worried about the headlines coming out of China’s property sector. Sales fell in July after having seemed to stabilize in June. For the first half of this year, sales nationally fell by 6.7% year over year, to Rmb3tn (US$488.4bn). That’s the first time such a steep fall has occurred since 2011. Continue reading »