The (Misleading) Power of Stats

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An old problem continues to rumble: AFP: China defends economic data http://bit.ly/lHws5

This time the data on power tells a confusing story. Does it show a drop in consumption? Or more efficient output? AFP notes:

    “Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Administration, said this was due to a change in the nation’s industrial mix.

    “High energy consuming industry is on the decline, and low energy consuming industry is on the rise, so this has impacted electricity consumption,” he told reporters.

    Overall electricity consumption in China from January to April dropped 4 percent compared to the same period in 2008, according to a statement released by the energy administration.

    In the same period, China imported 57 million tonnes of crude oil, a 4.5 percent drop from a year earlier, Zhang told reporters.

    But China’s first quarter GDP grew by 6.1 percent.

    Historically, demand for oil and electricity products is used as a proxy for gross domestic product growth.”

Access Asia (www.access-asia.info) also pointed out in a recent newsletter that retail stats are misleading – as they include government spending as well as cars…and petrol (gas), catering, and wholesale, and more.

The key is to remember that figures are not always reliable facts, and that they need to be viewed in context and over time.

One Response to “The (Misleading) Power of Stats”

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    […] The (Misleading) Power of Stats June 5, […]

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