Authorities determined to rein in speculation on property Beijing has issued another stern warning to local officials who may be rushing to stockpile land ahead of a year-end deadline to file detailed land usage reports aimed at easing property speculation. A notice posted by the Ministry of Land and Resources on Friday called for local governments to strictly adhere to regulations on the proper use of land.. It also warned that next year's quota on land approvals - which has sparked increasing unrest in parts of the mainland - should not exceed the amount for 2005. A spokesman from the ministry's planning department said Beijing suspects that some local officials have ignored repeated warnings, increasing land approval quotas in the early part of the fourth quarter. 'The fourth quarter is usually the most intensive period [for officials to approve] all kinds of land for development,' he was quoted as saying in the notice. 'Some places may have seen a trend [of local governments] seizing land.' The spokesman said the trend was driven by a circular issued by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on August 31, urging local officials to report to Beijing land approvals and disposal details for next year before the end of this year. The NDRC document, ordered by the State Council to strengthen control over illegal land use, requires officials to report all new approvals to Beijing, including farmland earmarked by officials for a change of purpose and for future developments. The ministry's warning urged local governments to implement the central government's macroeconomic land control policies. Yuan Gangming , a macroeconomist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the new warning was unlikely to help Beijing achieve its macroeconomic measures due to loopholes in the NDRC regulations. 'It just focuses on scrutiny of the new increased approved land, but many local governments have a lot of land reserves, especially in east and central-west regions,' said Professor Yuan, adding it ignored their already abundant reserves. Professor Yuan said the property sector remained an easy way for local governments to get rich. Official statistics showed that in the first nine months, property investments in Chongqing rose 25.2 per cent. In Yunnan , investments in the first eight months grew 27.8 per cent. However, another academy macroeconomist said the repeated warnings from Beijing at least showed the central government realised the country had to sacrifice economic income to achieve sustainable development. 'It tells both local officials and entrepreneurs that the central government has not only focused on economic results, but also elements of sustainable development,' said Han Meng .