China home price growth cools for second month in July

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Growth in Chinese housing prices slowed slightly last month as policymakers work to rein in the red-hot market.

New home prices in China's 70 major cities rose 0.4% in July from a month earlier, easing from 0.7% growth in June, data out Friday showed.

Beijing prices slipped for the second straight month.

China has experienced a property boom since late 2015 and authorities have imposed measures to deflate the housing bubble.

The price boom has stretched from China's big cities to smaller centres.

In July, government efforts to moderate prices helped in larger cities, with prices showing the slowest growth since August 2016.

Prices in smaller centres also eased but remained elevated.

New home prices rose 9.7% in July compared with a year earlier, pulling back from a 10.2% gain in June, figures from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

Regulators have escalated efforts to crackdown on property speculation in recent months to curb surging prices.

China's NBS said in a briefing in Beijing on Monday that speculative property purchases had been effectively controlled and the overheated property market had cooled somewhat.

Credit fears

Inflated property prices are one of the challenges facing China's economy.

The world's second-largest economy has been trying to shift its dependence away from exports and industry, toward domestic consumption.

Growth has slowed from an average of 10% a year in the three decades leading up to the global financial crisis, to a rate of 6.7% last year.

But credit growth in the country is a concern. This week the International Monetary Fund warned that China's credit growth is on a "dangerous trajectory".

The IMF said China's economic slowdown would have been more pronounced, were it not for a boom in credit.

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