China’s real estate crisis escalates, triggering global concerns as FDI plummets, developers default, and contagion risks rise.

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China’s real estate crisis is deepening, and its potential ramifications are sending shockwaves through global financial markets. With foreign direct investment (FDI) in China plummeting by 82% in 2023 to $33 billion—the lowest since 1993—the severe contraction in the property market is causing significant concerns about its impact on the US financial system.

The decline in FDI, reaching levels not seen in nearly three decades, reflects the magnitude of the challenges facing China’s real estate sector. Sales of new homes are sharply dropping, and highly leveraged developers are struggling to secure funds to complete projects. The recent liquidation of real estate giant Evergrande and over 50 housing developers defaulting on debts underscore the severity of the situation.

As the crisis unfolds, there is growing fear that the fallout from China’s real estate woes could reverberate globally, affecting investors and financial institutions outside China. Observers are particularly concerned about potential losses incurred by international investors exposed to the Chinese real estate market. The risk of contagion is exacerbated by the interconnected nature of the global financial system.

The situation has prompted comparisons to the 2008 financial crisis, with warnings that the spillover effects could lead to a broader economic downturn. Investors face uncertainties as they grapple with the potential scale of the crisis and its implications for their portfolios. The government’s efforts to address the real estate slump are being closely monitored, but challenges persist as the property market continues to weigh heavily on China’s economic outlook.

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The abandoned “ghost town” in Shenyang City, built by the Greenland Group, serves as a poignant symbol of the real estate downturn. The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Cheng explores how China’s property slump has become a headache for the government and why the international community is closely watching for signs of broader financial turbulence. As China grapples with its real estate challenges, the world is on high alert for potential disruptions to the interconnected global financial system.

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