China: slowing, but still shopping

The idea that China is slowing is hardly new and it hasn't put off Chinese consumers.

China has long been accused of manipulating its GDP figures, and the latest data did nothing to allay scepticism. The economy grew by 6.9% year-on-year in the third quarter, only a little down on the previous quarter, despite poor data over the summer. It left the government on track to hit its 7% full-year target. An alternative index devised by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, covering electricity consumption, bank lending and rail cargo all deemed harder to fake than GDP points to growth of 3%-4%.

But the idea that China is slowing is hardly new. What matters is the broad direction of travel, which is more encouraging. Industrial production growth eased to 6% year-on-year, but retail sales grew by 10.9%. "Despite widespread panic about the health of the Chinese consumer, she is clearly out spending," says Lex in the Financial Times. "Take a look at any international shopping district."

Stronger services are offsetting a weaker industrial sector, adds The Economist good news, because services now comprise a bigger proportion of GDP than industry. As a result, the jitters over a hard landing look overdone, especially as recent cuts in interest rates have bolstered credit growth, and there is plenty of scope for more fiscal and monetary stimulus.

Recommended

Inflation is now at its highest since 1982 – is this the peak?
Inflation

Inflation is now at its highest since 1982 – is this the peak?

At 9%, UK inflation is at its highest for 40 years – and it’s not going anywhere soon, says John Stepek. That means you need to be much more active a…
18 May 2022
Get set for another debt binge as real interest rates fall
UK Economy

Get set for another debt binge as real interest rates fall

Despite the fuss about rising interest rates, they’re falling in real terms. That will blow up a wild bubble, says Matthew Lynn.
15 May 2022
Hong Kong’s brain drain
Chinese economy

Hong Kong’s brain drain

A change in the political atmosphere and a harsh zero-Covid regime has seen thousands flee the global financial hub. Does it have a future – or will S…
14 May 2022
Interest-rate rises mean more pain for stocks
Stockmarkets

Interest-rate rises mean more pain for stocks

Interest rates are rising around the world as central banks try to get inflation under control. That’s hitting stockmarkets – and there is more pain t…
13 May 2022

Most Popular

Get set for another debt binge as real interest rates fall
UK Economy

Get set for another debt binge as real interest rates fall

Despite the fuss about rising interest rates, they’re falling in real terms. That will blow up a wild bubble, says Matthew Lynn.
15 May 2022
Is the oil market heading for a supply glut?
Oil

Is the oil market heading for a supply glut?

Many people assume that the high oil price is here to stay – and could well go higher. But we’ve been here before, says Max King. History suggests tha…
16 May 2022
Value is starting to emerge in the markets
Investment strategy

Value is starting to emerge in the markets

If you are looking for long-term value in the markets, some is beginning to emerge, says Merryn Somerset Webb. Indeed, you may soon be able to buy tra…
16 May 2022