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An alternative view of deceleration in China [ClearOnMoney]
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An alternative view of deceleration in China

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Commentary

An alternative view of deceleration in China

14 May 2012 by Jim Fickett.

In my posts on the Chinese economy (e.g. China moderating) I normally take official statistics at face value, even though they are well known to be somewhere between slightly and drastically unreliable. It is hard to do anything else. Nevertheless, once in a while one must pay attention to other indicators that might (stress might) give a more accurate view.

Here is the Financial Times, suggesting that a hard landing in China might, in fact, have already occurred:

In an unguarded moment in 2007, the man anointed to take over next year as the helmsman of the world’s second-largest economy revealed his doubts about China’s economic growth statistics.

The country’s official gross domestic product figures are “man-made” and therefore unreliable, Li Keqiang told the US ambassador at the time, adding with a smile that he regarded them as being “for reference only”.

When evaluating the speed of economic growth Mr Li, who is expected formally to replace Wen Jiabao as China’s Premier next March, said he focused instead on three sets of data – electricity consumption, rail cargo volumes and disbursement of bank loans. …

China’s electricity consumption in April hasn’t been published yet but electricity output increased just 0.7 per cent last month from a year earlier, compared with a 7.2 per cent increase in March and an 11.7 per cent annual increase in April 2011.

Rail cargo volumes in the first few months of the year increased by low single digits or about half the pace they were growing this time last year and banks extended far fewer new loans than expected.

If the pessimistic view of China is right, there will be some good bargains to be had in commodities.