Sunday, December 12, 2010

Why China is in a bubble

It is not a popular view here (in Hong Kong), but it seems to me that we are in the midst of a bubble. Some simple signs:
  • Soaring property prices
  • Inflation rising rapidly (just announced at 5.1% for November, up from 4.4% in October and including an 11.7% rate for food), such that it has already caused riots (one in a school in Yunnan, over the rise in lunchbox prices, made the front page of the SCMP)
  • Repeated attempts by the government in China, and in Hong Kong, to rein in speculation by raising bank deposit requirements and the property sales tax
  • The growing difficulty people are having finding a job, especially the young new graduates (see the NY Times article on this here)
  • The smug conceit one often hears that "China is different" (where have we heard that before...)
Hard to figure out how and when this is going to end, however. But it will not be pretty.

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