China property sales will slow in fourth quarter, prices stable — housing minister

Property sales in China dropped for the first time in over two-and-half years in September, according to Reuters calculations. (Reuters)
Updated 22 October 2017
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China property sales will slow in fourth quarter, prices stable — housing minister

BEIJING: China’s property sales will slow in the fourth quarter but prices will remain stable, the housing minister said on Sunday, as more signs emerge that the country’s nearly two-year housing boom has peaked.
Property sales in China dropped for the first time in over two-and-half years in September, while housing starts slowed sharply as cooling measures started to bite, according to Reuters calculations based on official data on Thursday.
Real estate, which directly effects many other business sectors, is a crucial driver for China’s economy but also poses significant policy risks as the government tries to tamp down soaring prices while avoiding a crash and an ensuing blow to confidence and economic growth.
Wang Menghui, head of China’s housing ministry, told reporters at an briefing in Beijing that “the national growth rate of transitions for commercial housing will slow in the fourth quarter.”
The rapid rise of property prices has been contained and the government will keep measures consistent and not loosen control, Wang said, adding that the market was healthy and stable.
“We will firmly maintain our position that houses are for living in, not for speculation,” he said.
The remarks were made as part of a once-every-five-years congress of the ruling Communist Party, which opened on Wednesday and runs until next Tuesday.
At the congress, the party sets broad policy directions and reshuffles top leaders.
China will release September home price data on Monday.
The softening in property activity appeared to drag on broader growth in the third quarter, as many economists had predicted. China’s economy grew 6.8 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, easing from 6.9 percent in the second quarter.
Further slowing is expected in coming months, but the head of the state planning agency said on Saturday that the economy is still on track to meet the official full-year growth target of around 6.5 percent.


More Saudi sectors opened to foreign investment

The Cabinet amended the sectors excluded from foreign investment at the meeting chair by King Salman. (SPA)
Updated 24 October 2018
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More Saudi sectors opened to foreign investment

  • The amendment allows foreigners to invest in labor services and jobs, including recruitment offices; audio and video services; road transport services; and brokerage services for real estate

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will allow foreigners to invest in audiovisual services, land transport and real-estate brokerages, the Cabinet decided on Tuesday.

The Cabinet amended what it described as types of activity that had been previously excluded from foreign investment, after concluding its weekly meeting chaired by King Salman.

The amendment allows foreigners to invest in labor services and jobs, including recruitment offices; audio and video services; road transport services; and brokerage services for real estate.

Meanwhile, about 320 foreign institutions have registered as qualified foreign investors in the Saudi stock market, the exchange’s chairwoman told the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh.

Sarah Al-Suhaimi, chairwoman of the Saudi Arabian stock exchange (Tadawul), said 200 more are expected to register.

Global index provider MSCI classified the Saudi equity market as an emerging market in June, a move expected to attract billions of dollars of passive funds.

Al-Suhaimi said she expected the number of qualified foreign investors to increase before and after the inclusion in the index, which is expected to happen in phases coinciding with index reviews in May and August 2019.