The Asian Wild Card

What about China’s economy?  USA Today suggests that cracks are showing, and offers a list of worries which might sound familiar to those of us here in Canada at the moment:

  • possible housing bust
  • labor market/aging population
  • rising food prices
  • Europe/slowing exports.

Opinions abound as to what’s happening in China.  Critics describe the economic statistics as “opaque,” reporting that “the truth is hard to discover.”  While some ‘China-watchers’ are uneasy, others rebuff the economic concerns as “psychological projection.”  Perhaps this discrepancy is best illustrated in real estate markets outside China’s major cities, where sky-high prices fly firm in the face of “ghost development” realities on the ground.  The report here states that “grass grows man-high outside unoccupied villas,” while agents insist “vacancy rates are low and sales are brisk.”

Activity in offshore lumber markets typically picks up in late August and early September.  With projected demand levels fuzzy, and Random Lengths composite prices $50 higher than each of the past two years at this time, it’s no wonder some lumber traders are referring to China as “The Asian Wild Card.”

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