Reviewing China’s Economic Releases

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Earlier today, a collection of economic figures was released from China, which came in line with expectations, leading to a slight impact on the markets. This effect was seen in equities, commodities, and the Fx market. What are those figures and what implications do they have on the PBoC and the global economy?

Definitions

  • GDP: Change in the inflation-adjusted value of all goods and services produced by the economy. This figure represents the quarterly value compared to the same quarter from the year before. Chinese data can have a broad impact on the currency markets; this is due to China’s influence on the global economy and on investor sentiment.
  • Industrial Production: Change in the total inflation-adjusted value of output produced by manufacturers, mines, and utilities. It also affects the markets for the reasons stated above.
  • Fixed Asset Investment: Change in the total spending on non-rural capital investments such as factories, roads, power grids, and property. It represents the year-to-date investment compared to the same period a year earlier.
  • Retail Sales: Change in the total value of sales at the retail level. It tends to have a muted impact because the Chinese economy is not heavily reliant on consumer spending.

Why Are These Figures Important?

  • GDP: It’s the broadest measure of economic activity and the primary gauge of the economy’s health.
  • Industrial Production: It’s a leading indicator of economic health – production is the dominant driver of the economy and reacts quickly to ups and downs in the business cycle.
  • Fixed Asset Investment: It’s a leading indicator of economic health – changes in private and public investment levels can be an early signal of future economic activity including hiring, spending, and earnings.

Outcomes

Economic Indicator

Actual

Forecast

Prior

GDP

6.7%

6.7%

6.7%

Industrial Production

6.1%

6.4%

6.3%

Fixed Asset Investment

8.2%

8.2%

8.1%

Retail Sales

10.7%

10.7%

10.6%

Most of the data was in line with market expectations and mostly showed a stabilization. However, Industrial Production came in contrary to market expectations, slowing down to 6.1% from 6.3%, despite the fact that estimates pointed to a rise towards 6.4%, which would have been the 2nd highest reading of this year. But today’s outcome is the weakest reading in two months.

What Do We Know?

Today’s growth figures might be a sign of stabilization. The GDP has remained constant for the past three quarters, correcting a notable period of negative outcomes. Such stabilization may hint for the end of the recent slowdown. In addition, this might give the PBoC a chance to hold back, watch and see with no further interventions.

 

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