Thursday, March 01, 2007

Beijing's Olympic frenzy / Inflated by the Olympic spirit

isn´t it ironic....." Last month new restrictions were imposed on property purchases by foreigners. In Shanghai, these moves have achieved some success (diverting speculative money to the bubbling stockmarket)"

let´s hope that the effects on london (2012) and vancouver (2010) won´t be so severe...but maybe the effect will come juts in time to soften the decline.......

der o.g. satz ist wirklich genial. bleibt zu hoffen das london und vancover als olympiastädte nicht ganz so massiv getroffen werden. aber evtl. kommt dann die olympiaunterstützung gerade recht um dann den fall etwas abzufedern.......

......For Chinese leaders, however, Beijing's boom is also a worry. Lower-income residents complain with increasing bitterness about house prices. In January the property-price index in Beijing rose by 9.9% compared with the same month in 2006. This was the second-highest rate among 70 cities surveyed. And prices for many residential properties are growing far faster than these figures suggest. ....

For the past two years, the central government has introduced a series of measures aimed at cooling property markets in Beijing and elsewhere. These have included new taxes on property deals and higher mortgage downpayments. Last month new restrictions were imposed on property purchases by foreigners.

In Shanghai, these moves have achieved some success (diverting speculative money to the bubbling stockmarket)( what irony....welch ironie....), but not in Beijing. Last year property development still accounted for more than half of all investment in the capital (see chart).

Speculators are betting that property prices will benefit from the tightness of land supply and the continued slow appreciation of China's currency, the yuan, which should bolster the value of yuan-denominated assets.

Moreover, in order to keep the city clear of unsightly cranes and dust-billowing building sites during the games, Beijing has been discouraging new construction projects. This has reduced the expected supply of properties and helped to drive up prices.

Last year the total floor space of new housing projects was nearly 6% less than in 2005. For poorer residents the outlook was particularly grim. The floor area of newly launched low-cost housing projects was down by nearly 57%.

Officials estimate that the Olympics have been contributing more than two percentage points to Beijing's annual growth since 2003. After the games, they insist, the city's new infrastructure and additional glamour (including the egg-shaped theatre, which hopes to attract international stars) will help keep the economy rolling. The flow of investment will be sustained, they say, by further infrastructure development, and by the pent-up demand for property, which will be supported by a continuing large influx of migrants from the countryside.

But some observers are worried. In December's edition of China National Conditions and Strength, a monthly magazine, two Beijing academics, Liu Qiyun and Wang Junping, said the end of the Olympics would coincide with a cyclical downturn in China's economy, exacerbating the risk of a post-Olympics slump in the capital.

Beijing's Olympics-related spending of around $35 billion, they calculated, would make up more than 43% of the total for all the games, including Beijing's, since Montreal's in 1976.

This could make the post-Olympics investment downturn all the more pronounced—especially if the speculators are busy bailing out.

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