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The China Property Syndrome

Look out below:

Analysts and even normally tight-lipped Communist party officials are now asking whether the country’s real estate bubble is deflating or bursting after nationwide sales in the first four months fell 7.8 per cent in renminbi terms from the same period a year earlier.

Investment in real estate is the single most important driver of the Chinese economy and a crucial factor in global commodity demand and pricing.

However, newly started construction projects fell 22.1 per cent in the first four months compared with a year earlier, according to government figures released on Tuesday.

It's a good thing this country doesn't have a small cabal of leaders diverting by fiat the rest of the economy to propping up an already-overpriced real estate sector.