CHINA - The Chinese government has described as "effective" measures introduced last month to cool overheated property markets after a three-week investigation apparently designed to find the causes of the country's recent house price recovery. 

The People's Daily - the Communist Party's official newspaper - said State Council officials were "generally satisfied" with regional implementation of measures including a cap on home-ownership in some cities and increased down-payments, although the government has as yet made no public statement on the results.

According to the People's Daily, officials approved implementation of measures in 16 of the 17 provinces and cities investigated.

However, easier availability of credit is more likely to have stimulated house prices in recent months than government attempts to curb real estate market "speculation".

"The results may possibly form the basis for further curbs," warned the newspaper.

Credit Agricole senior economist Dariusz Kowalczyk said in a note last week he expected the government to push banks to extend more credit, despite evidence that corporate bonds and "new avenues of social financing" were beginning to plug the gap left by constrained bank finance.

"There cannot be a sufficient infrastructure spending boost without stronger lending," he said.

In a separate story, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) director general Li Tie has called for China's infrastructure monopoly to be broken up in favour of private investment.

In a speech at a conference that took place in June but was reported in the People's Daily last week, Li also criticised "disorderly land expansion" by developers, calling instead for land to be sold to individual service sector operators.

The NDRC - China's economic central planning agency - controls licensing for major construction projects.