How China Cooks Its Books & The Growing Risk of a Chinese Economic Implosion

Discussion in 'Economics' started by ByLoSellHi, Oct 13, 2009.


    Tuesday, September 8, 2009
    “How China Cooks Its Books”

    We’ve commented from time to time on dubious Chinese data releases. But this report from Foreign Policy reports on an interest aspect: that the statistics are not manipulated only in the normal bureaucratic manner (fudging them) but also by getting companies to change behavior so it can be tallied in a more flattering fashion.

    The story contains some real bombshells: unemployment is likely 40 to 50 million, as opposed to the widely reported 20 to 30 million; the statistical manipulations are a surprisingly broad-based initiative.

    From Foreign Policy (hat tip reader Michael):

    In February, local Chinese Labor Ministry officials came to “help” with massive layoffs at an electronics factory in Guangdong province, China. The owner of the factory felt nervous having government officials there, but kept his mouth shut. Who was he to complain that the officials were breaking the law by interfering with the firings, he added. They were the law! And they ordered him to offer his workers what seemed like a pretty good deal: Accept the layoff and receive the legal severance package, or “resign” and get an even larger upfront payment….

    Such open-secret programs, writ large, help China manipulate its unemployment rate, because workers who “resign” don’t count toward that number. The government estimates that roughly 20 million migrant factory workers have lost their jobs since the downturn started. But, with “resignations” included, the number is likely closer to 40 million or 50 million, according to estimates made by Yiping Huang, chief Asia economist for Citigroup. That is the same size as Germany’s entire work force. China similarly distorts everything from its GDP to retail sales figures to production activity. This sort of number-padding isn’t just unethical, it’s also dangerous: The push to develop rosy economic data could actually lead China’s economy over the cliff….

    Pressure to distort or fudge statistics likely comes from up high — and it’s intense…

    But local and provincial governmental officials are the ones who actually fiddle with the numbers… “The higher [their] GDP [figures], the higher the chance will be for local officials to get promoted,” explained [Gary] Liu.

    The story then goes through a good list of distorted and certain to be exaggerated figures, then returns to an assessment:

    Still, it is possible to infer the severity of the gap between economic reality and China-on-paper by looking closely at monetary policy. China’s state-owned banks dramatically increased lending in the first half of 2009 — by 34.5 percent year on year, to more than $1 trillion. This move seems intended to keep growth artificially high until exports bounce back. Most analysts agree that it is leading to large bubbles in the stock, real estate, and commodity markets. And the Chinese government recently announced plans to raise capital requirements — an apparent sign it sees the need to reign in the expansion.

    For the long term, China is banking on its main export markets — in the United States, Europe, and Japan — recovering and starting to consume again. The hope is that in the meantime, rosy economic figures will placate the masses and stop unrest. But, if the rest of the world does not rebound, China risks the bursting of asset bubbles in property and stocks, declining domestic consumption, and rising unemployment.

    That’s when the Wile E. Coyote moment could happen. Once Chinese citizens no longer believe that the economy is doing well, social unrest and more widespread worker riots — already increasing in scope and severity — are likely. That’s something that China will have a harder time hiding. And then we’ll know whether China’s statistical manipulation was a smart move or a disastrous mistake.

    Although it should have been blindingly obvious, it never occurred to me that the cheerleading via distorted numbers was to promote social cohesion.
  2. should we be at all surprised this is coming from you? GS or China hatred...must be bylowsellhigh. Why dont you travel to China to see for yourself instead of copying the rants of other clueless individuals like yourself...
    just a suggestion. You dont seem to have better things to do anyway...

  3. Listen, you little Goldman Sachs bathroom c**sucker, get the f*ck out of my thread!

    Go bob for apples in Goldman's mailroom. :cool:
  4. the1


    Where do you think China learned how to doctor their numbers? Yeah, from the US. It's all relative.
  5. I guess you would not even get a visa to enter China even if you wanted to.

    The age of American supremacy is over thanks in part to people like you.

  6. well good thing is that with 7% growth you can afford to doctor here and there. Without such growth ByLowSellHigh would be eating shit instead of munching burgers in his basement by now.


  7. Fool.

    China is a runt compared to the U.S.

    Are you a commie bastard?

    Do you live in the U.S. or in China?
  8. stick with the topic loser! You know nothing about China (and even less about GS) yet week over week you paste some bs you dont ever understand yourself. Seriously, you really know absolutely nothing about China yet you want to discuss GDP and unemployment figures.

    Do you think the world does not know about how some of China's statistics come about (I dont claim GDP or unemployment is manipulated)? Its all priced in and you know why? Because current growth rates support it while you and your fellow American brothers and sisters burn a hole in your pockets each time you collect a dollar. And now with the U.S. in ashes you start to pee on the rest of the world because you never learned to deal with the fact you are not always the greatest. Case rest...

  9. The strongest pieces of evidence that China is cooking its books to a significant degree are the most obvious one -- lack of transparency (you don't hide what doesn't need to be hidden) and inability to form a legitimate domestic currency.
  10. the1


    Asia, I was tempted to put you on my ignore list but you're such a GS brown nose shit head you're too entertaining to ignore.

    #10     Oct 13, 2009