There's an unsettling trend under way in China. Economic metrics across the board have taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Most troubling of all, there's now clear proof that China's real estate bubble has popped.
According to data released by the Chinese government on Thursday, sales of residential buildings dropped by 5% in the first two months of this year. To make matters worse, sales of office buildings plummeted by 17.1%. While industrial real estate sales headed higher, increasing by 7.9%, it wasn't enough to compensate for the other two. All told, commercial and residential real estate sales declined by 3.7%.
The news is so downbeat that even China's government has abandoned any attempt to downplay its significance. In a press conference at the end of last week, Premier Li Keqiang made the stunning announcement that "we are not preoccupied with GDP growth." This is notably despite the government's 7.5% growth target.
How bad are things in world's second largest economy? As you can see in the following presentation, the situation certainly appears ominous.