China’s economy isn’t looking so hot these days. China’s biggest export market—Europe—is in turmoil. Chinese investors have been dumping money into the country’s construction property boom, but property sales dropped 12% from January to April this year. Since 2009, China has built 59.2 billion square feet of residential space. The World Bank estimates that it will be about 15 years before residents fill it. This all could be prelude to a crisis. First, the construction loans were financed by a tripling of lending by China’s state-owned banks, which means they can’t be repaid. Second, construction is a huge share of the economy and a sudden halt will leave a lot of workers unemployed. Third, China’s party members have prospered in the construction boom. If it’s coming to an end, they will not want to be among the losers.
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