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Property investment further slows

2015-03-11 15:55 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

China's property market showed no signs of improvement in the first two months of the year, highlighting continued weakness in the sector and concerns about the broad economy.

Investment in China's property sector rose 10.4 percent year on year to 878.6 billion yuan (142.6 billion U.S. dollars) in the two-month period, 0.1 percentage points lower than the pace for all of 2014, statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday.

In the first two months, investment in residential housing posted an increase of 9.1 percent from the same period last year to 592.2 billion yuan, down 0.1 percentage points from the pace of 2014.

Newly-started housing construction stood at 137 million square meters, down 17.7 percent from a year earlier.

Sales of commercial housing fell 16.3 percent to 87.6 million square meters.

Minsheng Securities expects the downward pressure on China's property sector to continue.

The housing slowdown has become a drag on the Chinese economy, which last year grew 7.4 percent, its weakest annual expansion in 24 years. And economic indicators for 2015, including manufacturing and trade data, have all suggested continued weakness.

To try to arrest the economic slowdown, China's central bank announced on Feb. 28 that it would slash the benchmark deposit and loan interest rates by 25 basis points, the second such cut in three months.

Previously, it had lowered the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for banks to free up more cash to the economy.

But most analysts believe more such easing moves will be needed.

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