Buyers beware of Chinese data

The most recent official Chinese economic data is riddled with convenient contradictions, so while the outlook appears generally bright, investors had better conduct thorough due diligence.

There’s some good news emerging out of China. The economy grew 7.9 per cent overall in the December quarter, beating many estimates and up from 7.4 per cent the previous quarter. For those seeking evidence of a structural shift toward a more sustainable model, official consumption numbers were encouraging, accounting for 4 per cent of GDP growth or over half of GDP growth over the quarter. Fixed investment, which has been driving growth for far too long, contributed 3.9 per cent of growth. Income growth in cities grew a healthy 9.6 per cent and retail sale numbers were up slightly from 11.6 per cent to 12 per cent. There was also improvement in key retail sectors such as car sales, which grew 6.9 per cent.

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