【英语中国】分析:闲置楼盘突显中国增长困境 Towers where nolightsburn lie at heart of China’spuzzle

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所属分类:双语中国

2014-4-17 06:49

小艾摘要: In a steel and coal-mining region of 5m people in the Chinese heartland, signs of economic slowdown are everywhere.Forests of newly built but nearly abandoned apartment complexes, with names such as F ...
Towers where nolightsburn lie at heart of China’spuzzle
In a steel and coal-mining region of 5m people in the Chinese heartland, signs of economic slowdown are everywhere.

Forests of newly built but nearly abandoned apartment complexes, with names such as Fortune Plaza and Golden Riverside, ring central Yuncheng while, on the outskirts of town, the district’s largest steel mill has gone bust, leaving mountains of unpaid debt and nearly 10,000 workers idle.

“I used to bring lots of investors and steel people out here to visit the plant,” says Zhang Pu, a taxi driver waiting outside an empty hotel next to the headquarters of Highsee Group, the troubled steelmaker.

“These days the only people who want to come here are local peasant farmers or debt collectors.”

China’s economy expan-ded 7.4 per cent in the first quarter of the year from the same period a year earlier, a sharp slowdown from 7.7 per cent growth in the fourth quarter of 2013. That is still an enviable rate by the standard of most countries but, in Yuncheng and other cities across China, the headline figure masks a multitude of problems.

The main reason for the slowdown is a slump in fixed asset investment, the biggest driver of the Chinese economy. In the first three months of the year, investment grew 17.6 per cent from the same period a year earlier, the slowest pace since late 2002.

The slide was largely caused by slowing real estate investment, which also experienced its weakest growth in more than a decade. The situation is certain to get worse in the coming months, as new housing floor space under construction contracted 27.2 per cent in the first quarter.

That was largely a reaction to declining sales, which fell 5.7 per cent in terms of floor space in the first quarter from a year earlier, with the fall pronounced in smaller inland cities such as Yuncheng.

“Our surveys show clear divergence in price trends with first-tier major cities experiencing mildly rising housing prices,” Sheng Laiyun, spokesman for China’s National Bureau of Statistics, said yesterday while announcing first-quarter gross domestic product data. “In some second-tier cities prices are shaky and in third and fourth-tier cities, especially those with ample supply, prices have come down.” The fate of China’s overheated real estate market is absolutely critical to the health of the overall economy. Real estate construction directly accounted for 16 per cent of GDP in 2013, according to estimates from Nomura. At that level China is approaching a dependence on real estate last seen in Ireland and Spain before the bursting of their real estate bubbles.

Many of the industries suffering from severe overcapacity in China, such as steel, cement and glass, are heavily indebted and reliant on continued rapid growth in property construction for their survival.

Land sales and property-related taxes accounted for 38 per cent of total government revenue in 2013 and heavily indebted local governments have used highly priced land as collateral for the majority of their loans.

A property crash would not only lead to collapsing growth in the world’s second-largest economy and largest commodity consumer but would also have a huge impact on households, which have an estimated two-thirds of their assets tied up in real estate.

In numerous places such as Yuncheng, the crash has already begun.

“Prices are falling and sales are really terrible because too many apartments have been built and so many of them are empty,” said a sales manager at a property development on the outskirts of Yuncheng who would only give his surname, Guo. “Even in a situation like this they are still building new housing complexes. It’s completely crazy!”

Mr Guo said that in the district where the Highsee steel mill has gone out of business, the local government approved 800,000 square metres of new construction last year, even though the district’s total population is only 300,000.

As night falls in Yuncheng, the dilemma facing the government is dramatically illustrated by the very few lights blinking on in newly constructed apartment towers.

In the past, Beijing has turned to credit-fuelled prop-erty construction as the easiest way to boost flagging growth. But with so many freshly built apartment towers already standing empty, another round of state-sanctioned building would amount to yin zhen zhi ke – “drinking poison to quench one’s thirst”.

Additional reporting by Gu Yu

在中国内陆炼钢和采煤腹地一个500万人口的城市,经济增长放缓的迹象随处可见。

山西省运城市的市中心林立着几乎无人居住的新建公寓楼,其名称是“财富广场”及“黄金水岸”之类,而在该市远郊,当地最大的钢铁厂已经破产,留下巨额未偿债务和近1万名无事可做的工人。

“我曾把大量投资者和钢铁行业人士拉到这儿参观这家厂,”在一家冷清的酒店外等候的出租车司机张蒲(音译)表示。这家酒店的旁边就是陷入困境的钢铁企业海鑫钢铁集团(Highsee Group)的总部。

“如今要到这儿来的人只有当地的农民或讨债的。”

中国经济在今年第一季度同比增长7.4%,较2013年第四季度7.7%的同比增幅有大幅放缓。按照大多数国家的标准,这仍是一个令人羡慕的增长率,但在运城和中国各地其他城市,这个整体数字掩盖了种种问题。

放缓的主要原因是,中国经济的最大推动因素——固定资产投资增长大幅减速。今年前三个月,这项投资同比增长17.6%,是2002年末以来最慢的。

这一下滑主要是房地产投资减速所致,该行业也经历了10多年来最疲弱的增长。未来几个月内,形势肯定会变得更糟。今年第一季度,中国住宅新开工面积下降了27.2%。

这主要是对销售下滑的反应,今年第一季度,住宅销售面积同比下降5.7%。像运城这样的内陆中小城市,降幅尤为显著。

“(调查显示)房价确实是出现了一些明显的分化,一线城市房价温和上涨,”中国国家统计局新闻发言人盛来运昨日在公布第一季度国内生产总值(GDP)数据的新闻发布会上表示,“部分二线城市房价有所松动,一些住房存量比较多的三四线城市房价出现了下降。”中国过热的房地产市场的命运,对整体经济的健康绝对至关重要。根据野村(Nomura)的估算,2013年房地产建设直接占到中国GDP的16%。这样的比重意味着,中国经济对房地产的依赖度正接近房地产泡沫破灭之前的爱尔兰和西班牙。

中国许多产业存在严重产能过剩,如钢铁、水泥和玻璃,这些产业负债累累,其生存有赖于房地产建设持续快速增长。

卖地及房地产相关税收占2013年政府总收入的38%,负债累累的地方政府已将高价土地用作其大部分贷款的抵押品。

房地产崩盘不仅会导致全球第二大经济体兼头号大宗商品消费国增长急剧下滑,也会对家庭产生巨大影响,目前中国家庭估计有三分之二的资产被套牢在房地产中。

在许多地方,比如运城,楼市崩盘已经开始。

“价格不断下降,销售数字真的很可怕,因为建成了太多的公寓,很多都闲置着。”运城郊外某个楼盘的一名姓郭的销售经理表示,“即使在这样的形势下,他们仍在建设新的住宅区。完全是疯了!”

郭先生说,在海鑫钢厂已经停业的那个地方,当地政府去年批准新开工80万平方米,尽管该地总人口只有30万。

夜幕降临在运城后,新落成的公寓大楼上亮灯的窗户极少,令中国政府面临的两难困境表露无遗。

以往,北京方面把转向信贷助推的房地产建设当作刺激乏力增长的最简便方法。但鉴于已经有这么多新建公寓楼闲置着,推出又一轮政府支持的建设只会起到“饮鸠止渴”的作用。

谷禹(Gu Yu)补充报道

译者/和风

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