China's vast property market could be a potentially useful defense in its ongoing trade war with the United States.
According to Nicole Wong, managing director for property research at CLSA, in the face of tariff pressure from the U.S., the same sector that has long been a source of anxiety about China's economic fate could also prove to be its temporary savior.
Wong told reporters Tuesday at the annual CLSA Investors' Forum in Hong Kong that authorities are likely to encourage property prices, which are already rising, to increase further to help boost the economy.
"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," she said.
"And the property sector is a very good sort of replacement," Wong added.
In a bid to both rebalance trade between the countries and also pressure Beijing to fundamentally change industrial and commercial policies, U.S. President Donald Trump is targeting tariffs on potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in Chinese goods.
Rising property prices can help stimulate the economy in several ways, Wong said and these can include encouraging buyers to accelerate purchases before the cost goes up, thus bringing forward future demand.
She said that another positive result of costlier housing is that savings will move out of banks and into the real economy.