Chinese Property Shares Surge on Debunked Tax Threats


Asian markets rebounded Tuesday. China's Shanghai Composite Index advanced 2.1% to 2,771 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.2% to end the day at 19,945. In Japan the Nikkei 225 Index inched up 0.1% to close at 10,243.

In China property companies surged after China Securities Journal reported that the government doesn't have the authority to implement property taxes, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. After the government placed the onus on local governments to control skyrocketing housing prices, some cities -- including Shanghai -- have considered levying their own taxes. These rumors, along with tighter lending policies and restrictions on the number of homes families can own, have sent investors running. But today's news has sparked bargain hunting, sending recently hammered property shares sky rocketing. Gemdale soared to the daily maximum of 10%, Poly Real Estate leaped 7.9% and China Vanke climbed 7.2%.

Chinese Banks also made gains today with China Merchants Bank rallying 3.2%, Bank of Communications advancing 2.7%, China Minsheng rising 2.3% and China Construction Bank adding 1.2%. Industrial & Commercial Bank, which according to the Wall Street Journal plans to raise funds through a convertible bond issue and also hopes to sell up to 20% of its shares listed in Hong Kong and Shanghai, sank 3.1%.

A rise in the price of copper and aluminum boosted shares in mining companies: Aluminum Corp of China, otherwise known as Chalco, rose 1.9%, Jiangxi Copper advanced 1.8% and Shandong Nanshan Aluminum gained 1.6%. After sharp declines yesterday, iron miners also saw increases with Baoshan Iron & Steel surging 3.7% and Maanshan Iron & Steel climbing 2.3%. Gold Miners, however, fared badly for a change: Shandong Gold plunged 5.8% and Zijin Mining slumped 4.8%.

In Hong Kong, property shares were among the day's best performers with China Resources Land rocketing up 6.5%.
Sun Hung Kai gained 1.5% and Sino Land added 0.9%. Some developers declined today with New World Development sinking 2.1% and Henderson Land losing 0.8%. Perhaps Henderson Land is suffering from image problems. While many local Hong Kong residents can't scrape together the cash to buy a first home at these frothy prices, the son of Henderson Land's Chairman has just bought himself a plot of land for a record $8,746 per square foot, according to Bloomberg. Lee Shau-kee plans to develop the property, with a prestigious Peak address, into a luxury villa for his family of four. The price tag for the site: HK$1.82 billion.

In Japan shipping companies were among the worst performers with Nippon Yusen KK, a major shipping company, plunging 8.1% and competitor Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha losing 4.4%. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines fell 3.8%.

Japanese commodities companies closed lower with Mitsui Mining & Smelting sinking 5.5%, Nisshin Steel down 3.4% and oil and gas exploration company, Inpex, dipping 2.5%.

Among performers, paper maker Hokuetsu Kishu Paper surged 5.2% and Fast Retailng, operator of the popular Uniqlo shops. rose 2.2%.