China’s opaque economy

China’s opaque economy
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Islam News – China’s decision to delay announcing routine growth data this week is the latest example of how hard it has become to peer into China’s economy, our colleague Keith Bradsher reports from Beijing.

Questions have long been raised about whether China’s economic growth statistics may be inflated or smoothed from one year to the next. But in the past, China also released more granular data that made it possible to draw conclusions about the economy’s overall health.

But that’s changing, too. China stopped releasing data on inflation in construction costs, which gave a measure of the rising value of new office complexes, rail lines and other investment projects. In recent years, the National Bureau of Statistics has quietly discontinued hundreds of series of data on narrow subjects, like the output of specific types of coal or raw silk.

Takeaway: Foreign economists used to rely on some of these now discontinued reports to double-check the veracity and plausibility of broader government data, such as overall economic growth statistics. One chief economist said that “has become progressively harder over the past few years as China has become a lot less open.”

Source: The New York Times

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