Another (Bumpy) Data Day

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Today’s data shows a bit of a bump on the road to recovery, with GDP for Q1 coming in below forecasts at 7.7% (http://on.wsj.com/114jWC6).

Other figures out today, also point to problems. Retail sales growth slowed, according to Xinhua, to “12.4 pct y-o-y to 887.22 billion USD in Q1, down 2.4 percentage points”, while industrial value-added output rose 9.5% in Q1, down 2.1%.

As reported in our LinkedIn group last week (http://linkd.in/17AHceA), this all adds to concerns about low electricity consumption (“China’s electricity consumption in the January-March period rose 4.3 percent year on year to 1.21 trillion KWH”, Xinhua), and an expansion of credit (China March credit surge supports economic recovery http://reut.rs/10WY4Ih”).

Not to mention the odd trade data from last week (now being investigated):

“The upshot is that the 10 percent headline (export) growth number masks an uncomfortable reality — either the trade data is unreliable, or if it is reliable, then what are being booked as exports are not actually exports. Either way, this is not an optimistic data release” (Alistair Thornton, China economist at IHS Global Insight in Beijing –
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/10/us-china-economy-trade-idUSBRE93903N20130410?goback=%2Egmr_4917445%2Egde_4917445_member_230850120).

It will be interesting to see how the government’s investigation into the trade figures pans out (Authorities investigating suspect trade figures…71% increase…between mainland and Hong Kong http://bit.ly/17srNgf), with some suggesting it may be an RMB play: Yuan speculators muddle China’s exports, complicating reform (http://reut.rs/112rsNu).

Many of the business noises out of China have a bearish ring to them at the moment, but it will be interesting to see how the new leadership deals with an old problem. Li Keqiang was reported at the weekend (http://bit.ly/17AHyln) to have said that “China needs to concentrate more on the quality of economic growth and economic restructuring while maintaining reasonable short-term economic growth”. More efforts ahead on rebalancing, consumption and the private sector, with continued investment and credit support for now?

Follow the news on our Twitter feed (http://bit.ly/YRDfkP), and the discussion in our LinkedIn Group (http://linkd.in/17AHceA).

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