China offers great news ahead of political meeting

The country reported solid economic numbers. The timing might be a bit suspect, however.

By Jim J. Jubak Nov 12, 2013 9:49AM
Image: China (© Lawrence Manning/Corbis)Good news and more good news on China’s economy. 

Industrial output up more than expected. Inflation lower than forecast. Total new loans by China’s banks less than expected. Retail sales up.

I just wish all this good news wasn’t so clearly correlated with the meeting of the Communist Party’s Central Committee that began on Saturday and is scheduled to end Tuesday.

Even the least cynical among us has to admit that it’s very convenient that the data look so good just as the country’s leaders are meeting to decide economic and financial policy.

A little more detail on this good news? Sure.

Industrial output climbed by a year over year 10.3%. That was above the 10% estimate by economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Industrial output has shown a 10% annual rate of growth for each of the last three months. 

Inflation in October rose by a less-than-forecast 3.2%. 

Total new loans for the month came in at 506 billion yuan. That was below the 580-yuan level projected by economists. The People’s Bank has been trying to damp lending in order to head off an asset bubble in real estate and in order to keep inflation under control. Aggregate financing totaled 856.4 billion yuan, well below September’s total of 787 billion yuan. 

Encouragingly for the central bank’s efforts to rein in the shadow banking sector, trust loans, a category associated with shadow banking, fell to just 40 billion yuan, the lowest total since July 2012.

I think the bias in official numbers toward data supportive of government policy is likely to run strong into 2014 as officials gradually announce the policies decided upon by this meeting of the central committee.

At the time of this writing, Jim Jubak didn't own shares of any companies mentioned in this post in personal portfolios. When in 2010 he started the mutual fund he manages, Jubak Global Equity Fund (JUBAX), he liquidated all his individual stock holdings and put the money into the fund. The fund may or may not own positions in any stock mentioned. For a full list of the stocks in the fund as of the end of the most recent quarter, see the fund's portfolio here

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Nov 12, 2013 10:22AM
Nobody really believes any of the numbers coming out of China. Plus they have an Environmental disaster on their hands.
Nov 12, 2013 11:49AM

I thought the Philippines had an environmental disaster on it's hands, actually everywhere.

China is small potatoes write now.

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