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China asset bubbles no longer a risk - economist

SINGAPORE: The asset bubble in China is no longer a major economic risk on the back of tightening policies, David Wong chief economist at Shui On Land was quoted as saying at the Cityscape Asia 2010’s  keynote session on the economic outlook for China.

According to the Cityscape Intelligence website on May 20, Wong said the property market cooling measures will not derail economic recovery but would enhance sustainability of future growth.

"Therefore there are enormous opportunities for investing in China's long term growth and resurgence as the emphasis changes from growth speed to growth quality," Wong noted.

Property sales have nearly doubled over the past year, housing credit has increased sharply, and the price of houses in the secondary market has accelerated rapidly. From an affordability standpoint, he added, property prices appear expensive and seem to have factored in a certain amount of future income growth.

Ample savings of residents have also helped to support mortgage lending, as well as contribute to China's substantial property market boom, he noted.

On another matter, Wong said that the Asian giant is a market that investors can no longer afford to ignore.

“China is undisputedly growing in relevance. Early government intervention and lower levels of debt compared to its western counterparts helped it to weather the financial storm better than most.”

The Chinese government has implemented aggressive macroeconomic expansion policies since October 2008, along with fiscal stimulus packages and monetary expansion. These policies have led to the rapid recovery of the domestic market and also signs of a recovery in investment, the website said.

It added that the rapid growth in the China economy has led to an 8.7% annual economic growth rate in 2009. Among the world's major economies, China is surging at an unmatched pace with 10% growth forecast for 2010.

Wong said the figure indicates that there is huge room for rapid, catch-up growth and thus investment opportunities. The Chinese's domestic demand contributed 12.6% points to gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2009 – the country's strongest performance since the early 1990s.
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