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China industrial production growth might be stabilizing [ClearOnMoney]
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China industrial production growth might be stabilizing

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Commentary

China industrial production growth might be stabilizing

13 Jul 2012 by Jim Fickett.

China reports that industrial production is up 9.5% year-over-year. However this is at odds with other statistics, and it is likely that industrial production has grown less than that.

Today China's National Bureau of Statistics reported industrial production growth through June. Year-over-year growth has been fairly stable for three months, indicating that the deceleration might have halted.

However there are, as usual, doubts about the government statistics. Recall that the PMI suggests not only no growth, but actual shrinkage in manufacturing (China continued to slow in June). The discrepancy is not impossible (Take PMI with a grain of salt), but is large enough to make one wonder.

And the Financial Times points out that electricity production did not grow at all while industrial production is supposedly up 9.5%, which seems implausible.

Li Keqiang, who is widely expected to succeed Wen Jiabao later this year as premier, confided to US officials in 2007 that gross domestic product was “man made” and “for reference only”, according to a diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks.

Mr Li said it was much more useful to focus on three alternative indicators: electricity consumption, rail cargo volumes and bank lending.

That advice has come back to haunt the government because electricity production has been unusually weak this year. Electricity output growth was flat in June, whereas industrial production – which accounts for about 40 per cent of GDP and usually correlates quite well to electricity – was up 9.5 per cent.

“Power production shouldn’t be at zero growth when heavy industry is growing near double digits. That doesn’t make sense,” said Ken Peng, an economist with BNP Paribas.