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China Land Sales Remain Sluggish Even as Bidding Rules Eased

China’s cash-strapped developers have become reluctant to acquire land even as some local governments relax bidding rules, adding to signs of their liquidity crunch and threatening to deepen the nation’s economic slowdown. 

Land plots auctioned in the fourth quarter through Dec. 20 only fetched an average 3% premium over their starting prices, according to data compiled by China Real Estate Information Corp. That’s down from a 17% premium in the second quarter and 8% in the third, said the research agency, which tracks auctions across 300 Chinese cities.