China’s economy slowed by more than expected in the third quarter, according to a report published Friday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics.
The true growth rate of the Chinese economy can be hard to measure. Official statistics are suspected of often being fudged to meet central government expectations.
The latest economic numbers appear to follow that pattern. China said its economy grew at a 6 percent rate in the third quarter, which happens to be exactly the government’s baseline target for full-year gross domestic product growth.
If accurate, that would be the slowest pace of growth since 1992.
Growth would have slowed by more if not for a reported recovery in industrial production and retail sales in the final month of the quarter. The boost in these sectors coincided with U.S. tariffs and Chinese retaliatory tariffs rising in September, which some China-watchers regard with a high level of skepticism.
Notice #China claims there was a growth spurt in September. How convenient to say there was a positive trend starting during the last month of the quarter. Growth was really 6.0% in Q3? Nah. https://t.co/aiqrIU2Yfz
— Gordon G. Chang (@GordonGChang) October 18, 2019
Investment in the industrial, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors fell in September as the new tariff hit. Investment in infrastructure rose, however, likely due to Communist Party official authorizing spending to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Communist Party in China.