China tackles dodgy data

Nobody trusts China’s economic statistics. The sum of the provinces’ output “regularly exceeds the published national GDP figure”, says Liaoning, one of the biggest regions, last year reported a sharp fall in fixed-asset investment.

That was a correction from overinflated levels, says, but it could have prompted the government to deliver unnecessary monetary stimulus. Now the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has launched a new online system where a million large firms can report figures directly, bypassing local officials.

NBS teams in the provinces will also stop sharing offices with regional counterparts. But will these efforts be enough to boost confidence in official statistics?