China Entering a Recession, Not Just a “Hard Landing?”

Saturday, August 29, 2015
By Paul Martin

by Wolf Richter
August 29, 2015

A “hard landing” would be tough for China. But it would still mean economic growth, if very slow growth by Chinese standards. At worst, it would mean stagnation. But now, evidence is piling up that the economy is actually shrinking.

There is practically universal agreement outside official Chinese reporting that the economy hasn’t been growing at anything near the official and for most countries awesome rate of 7% in the last two quarters.

In the US, we don’t know what our quarterly GDP growth is either. We get the first estimate, which may be negative, and then the second estimate, which may be worse. Then the third estimate may suddenly be positive, by which time people stopped paying attention. GDP continues to be revised years later. It’s tough to measure a big economy.

But China doesn’t even revise its GDP growth number. It comes out shortly after the quarter ends and stands as rock-solid as the Communist Party itself. And it always matches or exceeds the decreed target.

Hence no one believes it.

Yang Jian, managing editor of Automotive News China, who has been fretting about plunging auto sales, put it this way:

[E]ven some Chinese government officials remain wary of the reliability of economic data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.
Li Keqiang, now Chinese premier, was one of them. When he was head of the local communist party in northeast China’s Liaoning province ten years ago, he invented his own method of gauging the national economy’s performance by relying on three variables government statisticians cannot easily inflate – electricity consumption, rail cargo volume, and bank lending.

The Rest…HERE

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