Dodgy data

Crackdown on leaked stats

Dodgy data

For many years the problem with Chinese economic statistics was few believed their accuracy. Now in a new twist, the problem is that the data is being leaked. And with China’s increasing clout that’s market-moving information (whether you think it’s flawed or not).

The Beijing People’s Procuratorate said this week that a secretary at the National Bureau of Statistics is one of five officials being investigated for data leaks, reports the Wall Street Journal. The People’s Daily writes that one of the most sensitive leaks surrounds the consumer price index – especially since inflation is what worries the government most these days. Various media have predicted the CPI with unaccountable accuracy, says the official state newspaper.

Meanwhile, more legitimate predictions on those inflation numbers mount. Economic planning agency the NDRC reckons June’s inflation number will rise further (it was 5.5% in May), but is optimistic the figure will fall in the second half, reports the Shanghai Daily.

The People’s Bank of China is also predicting the rate will fall in the second half. It bases this assessment partly on a survey it conducted of the public’s inflation expectations. Its quarterly survey of 20,000 households in 50 cities found the proportion expecting higher prices in the next quarter fell by two percentage points (albeit to a still high 45%).

But perhaps the most eye-opening inflation stat from China this week: pork industry website noted that the average price of a pig (for slaughter) is Rmb18.37 per kilogram – which is 90% higher than a year ago.

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