Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Import of Chinese Imports (excerpt)

On July 15 we learned that China’s real GDP rose 7.5% y/y during Q2, up from 7.4% during Q1. The quality and accuracy of China’s economic data have always been questionable. That’s why I monitor all the available indicators to see when they are telling the same story, and when they are not doing so. One of the better sets of numbers is on Chinese imports. Currently, it isn’t confirming the improvement in real GDP growth.

Indeed, total imports (using the 12-month sum in US dollars) is down 0.7% in June from its record high in February. On a yearly percent change basis, it has been growing around 5% since late 2012, well below the double-digit pace of the previous three years.

I also track Chinese imports by country of origin. The recent slowdown in imports to China has been widespread among these countries, with the exception of the European Union, which is at a new record high. Australia and Brazil, the big commodity exporters to China, are flat-lining. So are Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, which tend to ship capital equipment and technology goods to China. Chinese imports from emerging countries have been submerging a bit in recent months from February’s record high.

Today's Morning Briefing: Mad Dash. (1) A liberal labor market economist. (2) A dashboard with 19 labor market indicators. (3) The result is one index, which is posted on Fed’s website. (4) Different strokes for different folks. (5) Giving more weight to the slackers. (6) Yellen overweights wages. (7) Demographic shifts may be keeping a lid on wage inflation. (8) Easy come the bubbles. (More for subscribers.)

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