China has a potentially useful defense in its ongoing trade war with the United States: its vast property market.
The same sector that has long been a source of anxiety about China's economic fate could also prove to be its temporary savior in the face of tariff pressure from the U.S., according to Nicole Wong, managing director for property research at CLSA.
Authorities are likely to encourage property prices, which are already rising, to increase further to help boost the economy, Wong told reporters Tuesday at the annual CLSA Investors' Forum in Hong Kong.
"With this trade war going on, we think that the China property market policy would reverse because with a trade war there is this risk of losses of jobs in the unskilled category," Wong said.
"And the property sector is a very good sort of replacement." she added.
U.S. President Donald Trump is targeting tariffs on potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese goods in a bid to both to rebalance trade between the countries and also pressure Beijing to fundamentally change industrial and commercial policies.
China has responded with tariffs of its own, but it imports far less from the U.S. than it exports to the world's largest economy, so it has had to evaluate other responses. Those have included potentially stimulating the Chinese economy by letting its currency, the yuan, move lower against the dollar and encourage banks to lend more money.