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China property hit by rare convergence of demand, supply declines

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November 15, 2021

By Liangping Gao and Ryan Woo

BEIJING (Reuters) -China’s property woes worsened on all fronts last month, as price falls in both new and resale homes amid deeper contractions in construction starts and investment by developers piled pressure on the sector in a rare confluence of declines.

The Chinese property market, accounting for a quarter of gross domestic product by some metrics, has slowed sharply since May, with sentiment increasingly shaken by stress in the sector in the wake of a growing liquidity crisis that has engulfed some of the country’s biggest and most indebted developers.

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Most analysts, however, expect demand and supply to return to more normal conditions by the end of the year or early 2022 as regulators tweak their policies to stabilise the sector.

Prices of new homes dropped 0.2% on average last month from September, according to Reuters calculations of data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday, the first decline since March 2015. In the resale market, prices slumped in all but six of the 70 major cities tracked by the bureau.

On the supply side, new construction starts plunged 33.14% on year in October, extending the 13.54% fall in September, while overall investment by developers in projects dropped 5.4%, deepening from the 3.5% decline a month earlier, Reuters calculations of the NBS data showed.

Tougher regulations on new borrowing since the summer of last year have squeezed developers financially and cast an ever lengthening shadow on new projects. China is expected to stand firm on policies to curb excess borrowing by developers and speculative home purchases, although it has eased financing conditions to help genuine home buyers.

REGULATORS TARGET STABILITY

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“Overall, the ‘bottom’ of real estate policies has emerged, but the market is still adjusting downwards,” said Zhang Dawei, chief analyst with property agency Centaline.

“Policies will become more and more relaxed, and the market is expected to gradually stabilise, as the purpose of regulations is to stabilise the market, with it neither sharply rising or decline,” Zhang said.

Authorities said in September that banks ought to offer financial support for genuine home buyers with so-called “rigid” demand, referring to purchasing or renting from those recently married or seeking low-cost housing.

New mortgage loans jumped 40% in October from the previous month to 348.1 billion yuan ($54.55 billion), although the amount was just 7% above the monthly average in the first nine months of the year.

Some Chinese banks in recent weeks have sped up the disbursement of home loans to support sentiment among buyers, but no fresh wave of new approvals have been granted to lenders, bankers previously told Reuters.

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“The market is expected to bottom out at the end of the year or early next year,” as supply and demand for mortgages will return to normal, said Xu Xiaole, analyst at Beike Research Institute.

In October, monthly prices rose in 13 of 70 cities, less than 27 cities reporting price gains in September, the smallest number since March 2015.

During the month, homes sales tumbled 22.65% on year to 1.24 trillion yuan, Reuters calculations showed, the fourth straight decline and the lowest this year.

In the resale home market, prices in 64 of 70 major cities tracked by the NBS declined, with prices in two unchanged and higher in four.

Resale prices have fallen in nearly all cities so far this year, with at least 20 cities seeing declines in five months or more. In the southern tech hub of Shenzhen, prices have slumped for six consecutive months.

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($1 = 6.3818 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Liangping Gao and Ryan Woo; Editing by Christian Schmollinger & Shri Navaratnam)

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Tesla sold 52,859 China-made vehicles in November – CPCA

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December 8, 2021

BEIJING (Reuters) – U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc sold 52,859 China-made vehicles in November, including 21,127 for export, the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA) said on Wednesday.

Tesla, which is making Model 3 sedans and Model Y sport-utility vehicles in Shanghai, sold 54,391 China-made vehicles in October, including 40,666 that were exported.

Chinese EV makers Nio Inc 10,878 cars last month, a monthly record high, and Xpeng Inc delivered 15,613 vehicles. Volkswagen AG said it sold over 14,000 ID. series EVs in China in November.

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CPCA said passenger car sales in November in China totalled 1.85 million, down 12.5% from a year earlier.

(Reporting by Sophie Yu, Brenda Goh; editing by Jason Neely)

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Renault Zoe goes from hero to zero in European safety agency rating

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December 8, 2021

By Nick Carey

LONDON (Reuters) – French carmaker Renault on Wednesday received a blow for its popular Zoe electric model, as the European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) gave it a zero-star safety rating in tests that are standards for Europe.

The carmaker, which is cutting costs and working to turn around its performance after overstretching itself over years of ambitious global expansion, also received a one-star rating for its electric Dacia Spring model.

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Euro NCAP said the latest Zoe had a worse seat-mounted side airbag than earlier versions. Euro NCAP noted the Renault Laguna had been the first car ever to receive a five-star rating in 2001.

“Renault was once synonymous with safety,” Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen said in a statement. “But these disappointing results for the ZOE and the Dacia Spring show that safety has now become collateral damage in the group’s transition to electric cars.”

In the year through October, the Zoe was the third top-selling fully-electric car in Europe, behind Tesla’s Model 3 in top place and Volkswagen’s ID.3.

In a press release titled “Hero to Zero,” UK insurance group Thatcham Research noted the Zoe had initially received a five-star rating back in 2013.

“It’s a shame to see Renault threaten a safety pedigree built from the inception of the rating,” said Matthew Avery, Thatcham’s chief research strategy officer and a Euro NCAP board member.

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Eleven cars received ratings in Euro NCAP’s final round of tests for 2021, which did not include Tesla models.

A number of other vehicles received five-star ratings, including BMW’s electric iX, Daimler’s electric Mercedes-Benz EQS, Nissan’s Qashqai and Volkswagen’s VW Caddy.

(Reporting By Nick Carey; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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Weibo shares close down 7.2% in Hong Kong debut

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December 8, 2021

By Scott Murdoch

HONG KONG (Reuters) -Chinese social media giant Weibo Corp’s shares closed 7.2% below their issue price in Hong Kong on Wednesday, as it became the latest U.S.-listed China stock to seek out a secondary listing closer to home.

The Hong Kong debut was in line with a fall in Weibo’s primary listing in New York after a torrid week for U.S.-listed China shares, which are facing greater U.S. regulatory scrutiny and also under pressure from Chinese authorities.

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Weibo, which raised $385 million for its Hong Kong listing, opened at $256.20 and closed at HK$253.2 after a volatile debut session.

The stock had been priced at HK$272.80 each in its secondary listing in which 11 million shares were sold.

“For Weibo, it’s a matter of timing. The Hong Kong market had started to rebound this week and now we are seeing some softness emerging in the market,” said Louis Tse, Wealthy Securities director in Hong Kong.

Weibo’s fall came as Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed Wednesday up 0.06% while the Tech Index was 0.03% higher.

Some major stocks such as Alibaba Group Holdings, down 4.35%, were off sharply as sentiment towards tech majors remains fragile.

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“The listing market in Hong Kong is very lukewarm right now,” said Dickie Wong, Kingston Securities executive director.

“Plus, there is regulatory pressure from the (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) on Chinese companies to disclose basically everything within three years.

“So there is a major trend that most of the U.S.-listed Chinese companies will seek secondary or dual primary in Hong Kong so they can exit the U.S. market if they need to.”

Ride-hailing giant Didi Global decided last week to delist from New York https://www.reuters.com/technology/didi-global-start-work-delisting-new-york-pursue-ipo-hong-kong-2021-12-03, succumbing to pressure from Chinese regulators concerned about data security and denting sentiment toward Chinese stocks.

Hong Kong and China’s mainland STAR Market have attracted $15.2 billion worth of secondary listings from U.S. listed Chinese companies so far this year, according to Refinitiv data.

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“The moves are probably based on the increasing recognition that the U.S.-China decoupling will not stop and will proceed steadily,” said LightStream Research analyst Mio Kato, who publishes on Smartkarma.

“I would expect a continuous flow of listings from New York to Hong Kong over the next year or two.”

The U.S administration is progressing plans to delist Chinese companies if they do not meet the country’s auditing rules, which could affect more than 200 companies.

Chinese companies https://www.reuters.com/business/us-sec-mandates-foreign-companies-spell-out-ownership-structure-disclose-2021-12-02 that list on U.S. stock exchanges must disclose whether they are owned or controlled by a government entity, and provide evidence of their auditing inspections, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said last week.

(Reporting by Scott Murdoch and Donny Kwok; editing by Richard Pullin and Louise Heavens)

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