World Economy

China's bumpy ride: Some casualties you may not expect


The rollercoaster ride on Chinese equity markets has affected investors around the world already. Here, we look at some other areas which are likely to feel the impact of the turbulence for much longer.

London property

The appetite of wealthy Chinese buyers for investment in London residential property has been well-documented. It looks as though sales of everything from flats to accommodate the children of wealthy Chinese studying in London to major commercial property purchases are being affected already.

Just this week, the planned £455 million ($694 million) sale of the Broadgate Quarter, in the heart of London's City district, fell through close to the last minute after the preferred bidder, a Chinese investor, pulled out, according to a report in Estates Gazette.

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Last month's devaluation of the yuan is also likely to make further purchases more expensive. Of course, Chinese buyers represent a small segment of the London market, but they have been increasingly important at its high end in recent years.

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Macau gambling

Revenues in the world's capital of gambling had already been slumping after China's anti-corruption drive, which made it more difficult to entertain government officials in the resort's many casinos.

Yet August saw the situation go from bad to dire, with gambling revenue down 36 percent from a year earlier to 18.62 billion patacas ($2.31 billion). This is likely to hit some of the Las Vegas operators who have set up shop there, with an already high-profile departure from James Packer as chairman of Crown Resorts in August, analysts say.

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Chinese government

Will there be a high-profile scalp from the stock market rout, coming as it does around the time of the Tianjin disaster? There has been speculation about Premier Li Keqiang's future in the Western press, but this may underestimate the government's power to silence opposition.

The turmoil may, however, help spur the agenda to reform China's economy and politics. Political reform is the biggest "elephant in the room" for this generation of Chinese leadership, according to Alastair Newton, co-founder of Alavan Business Advisory. In the face of a crisis, further action to placate the populace may be needed.

Clothes prices

China is both the world's leading consumer and exporter of cotton – so it's no surprise that the price of the commodity has fallen in recent weeks.

The International Cotton Advisory Committee has argued that the demand from China will be replaced by growth in other emerging markets such as India and Pakistan. Until that transpires, Western consumers might find that cotton-based clothes, and clothes made in emerging economies where currencies are getting weaker, are slightly cheaper.