Winter 2010/2011


The EO Quarterly

A Selection of the Predictions for 2011




Rampant Inflation?
Likelihood: 0%
Sun Jianfang (孙建芳)

Prices are on the rise and further inflation is on everyone's mind.
The CPI rose to 5.1% in November of last year.
Prices will continue to rise, but inflation will not spin out of control.
The central government has already set the inflation target at 4%.
If price increases are moderate and the CPI does not see a significant increase, then the government will not need to worry about inflation.

Domestic Price of Oil Adjusted to Match International Market Prices
Likelihood: 10%
Zhang Xiangdong
The end of 2010 saw a final price adjustment for gas and oil.
Oil prices, like other commodities, have been impacted by inflation despite government control.
China currently has a 53 percent dependency on foreign oil and domestic demand is growing. Adjusting domestic prices according to the international market would bring risks from abroad to the domestic market.
According to an expert from the China Information Center, domestic prices will conform, via inflation and other factors, to prices in the international market.
But domestic prices have never conformed entirely to international market prices and they are unlikely to do so in the future.

Pilot Property Tax
Likelihood: 100%
Xi Si (席斯)

The end of 2010 saw preparations for the "Property Tax Readjustment."
Property tax proposals from Chongqing and Shanghai have already been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
The main function of property taxes alone is not to curb real estate prices but to generate revenue for local governments.
Taxes alone will not be effective in stabilizing property prices.
But property taxes will be the main source of income for local governments in the 12th Five Year Plan.
According to the Shanghai proposal, taxes will be calculated based on area, and the policies will apply to new purchases as well as existing property.  It's hard to gauge what impact this will have on property shares.
But property taxes themselves will impact the majority of homeowners and prospective buyers.

Currency, Trade War Escalates
Likelihood: 60%
Zhang Bin (张斌)
After the Financial Crisis, the focus of the international communities has been the trade imbalances between various countries.
China's main worry is the United States, which has begun to alter its trade policies and make demands on the exchange rate. But the likelihood of a full-scale trade war erupting is small.
But 2011 will see additional measures aimed at "correcting trade imbalances," pressure on RMB to appreciate and pressure to ease domestic taxes on imported goods.
2011 will see substantial changes in the currency exchange rate.

The Next European Debt Crisis: Portugal
 Likelihood: 80%
Zhang Feifei (张斐斐)
Jacob Kirkegaard of the Peterson Research Institute believes that Portugal did not undergo the necessary economic structuring before joining the EU. Financially, the country has little competitive edge.
Portugal's weak economy is a long-term problem, and the outlook is not good. Portugal's 2010 GDP growth rate was 1.3 percent, 1.9 percent lower than the EU average.
In the coming years, Portugal may be facing a shrinking economy. The large deficit also means that the banks are under immense pressure.
In 2011, Portugal's 3 largest banks must refinance

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