Saturday, June 23, 2012

China's Phony Economic Data

Even NyTi is starting to get it:
As the Chinese economy continues to sputter, prominent corporate executives in China and Western economists say there is evidence that local and provincial officials are falsifying economic statistics to disguise the true depth of the troubles.

Record-setting mountains of excess coal have accumulated at the country’s biggest storage areas because power plants are burning less coal in the face of tumbling electricity demand. But local and provincial government officials have forced plant managers not to report to Beijing the full extent of the slowdown, power sector executives said.

Electricity production and consumption have been considered a telltale sign of a wide variety of economic activity. They are widely viewed by foreign investors and even some Chinese officials as the gold standard for measuring what is really happening in the country’s economy, because the gathering and reporting of data in China is not considered as reliable as it is in many countries.

Indeed, officials in some cities and provinces are also overstating economic output, corporate revenue, corporate profits and tax receipts, the corporate executives and economists said. The officials do so by urging businesses to keep separate sets of books, showing improving business results and tax payments that do not exist...

“The government officials don’t want to see the negative,” so they tell power managers to report usage declines as zero change, said a chief executive in the power sector.

Another top corporate executive in China with access to electricity grid data from two provinces in east-central China that are centers of heavy industry, Shandong and Jiangsu, said that electricity consumption in both provinces had dropped more than 10 percent in May from a year earlier. Electricity consumption has also fallen in parts of western China. Yet, the economist with ties to the statistical agency said that cities and provinces across the country had reported flat or only slightly rising electricity consumption.
The past money printing which distorted investments in the country, plus the heavy central planning that still exists in sectors of the economy, will result in one of the greatest economic crashes in history.

It will be blamed on China's move toward capitalism, but it is the government interference in the market economy via central banking and government directed activity that has set up the phony boom and developing crash.


  1. When NYT gets it, everybody else probably got much earlier and acted on it. Commodities are already in bear market, crude is under marginal cost of many integrated oil companies, North and South American shale, offshore and oil sands. At $80/bbl, we can get about 89/bbl per day meaning the world has to get 10% of its oil consumption, at least.

  2. I mistyped. I meant:

    At $80/bbl, we can get about 80m bbl per day meaning global oil consumption has to drop by, at least, 10%.

  3. I've heard coal figures are far overstated too. A shift in a Chinese mine will produce 3000 tonnes, the supervisor will report 3300 tonnes to his superior, who will in turn report higher figures to their managers before the public is told 4500 tonnes were produced.

    Western machinery producers are shocked at the great condition their equipment sold to Chinese mines is in for the alleged tonnage they've produced. China is one big lie, kind of like USA and Europe I guess.