04/16/2011, 00.00
CHINA
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Beijing, housing market collapses: down 50% in one year

In one month, prices have dropped by almost 27%. Nation prepares for burst of housing bubble worse than the United States. The Office of statistics demands punishment for those who published economic data over the Internet before their official publication.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Chinese real estate market is preparing to plummet: last March, house prices fell by 26.7% over the previous month and purchases have fallen by 50% in one year. According to experts, the real estate crisis in China is even scarier than the one that erupted in the United States three years ago, which led to the global crisis. In response, the Chinese government has decreed that it will punish those who "published economic data on the internet" before they are officially published. The data is considered a "state secret".

Beijing News, citing data from Housing and Urban-Rural Development Commission on the house and released disturbing figures in recent days: the price of new homes in the capital fell by 26.7% in a month. Over the past year prices fell by about 10%. Purchases decreased by 50.9% in one year and 41.5% in March alone.

The government has tried to curb real estate speculation and last year took steps to halt the purchase of second homes and bank loans.

The official data of the real estate market will be published by national statistics only on April 18.

The National Bureau of Statistics yesterday condemned the escape of economic data. Shen Laiyun, department spokesman, said that "any illegal behaviour will be punished by law. Those disseminating state secrets on the Internet or other channels of information will be held accountable. "

Just yesterday, the National Bureau of Statistics released some economic figures: in the first quarter of 2011 GDP (gross domestic product) grew by 9.7%. But inflation also rose to reach 5.4% in March, the highest in almost three years, higher than the 4.9 recorded in the first two months of 2011.
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