Are China's economic statistics accurate?
Pose this question to a group a China watchers and you're likely to receive a variety of responses. Some observers are convinced that China is cooking its books. Others believe state statistics are largely reliable and useful for drawing conclusions about the world's second largest economy. Still others will debate the accuracy of certain data classes, pointing to more meaningful alternatives.
Now we have an opinion from researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Their verdict? The statistics are pretty good.
The researchers compared Chinese government statistics with other economic measures that the researchers say are "less susceptible to official manipulation."
"Importantly, these models suggest that Chinese growth has been in the ballpark of what official data have reported. We find no evidence that recently reported Chinese GDP figures are less reliable than usual."
This brief paper from the San Francisco Fed won't settle the matter. But mark another tally in the "legit" category.
The paper, written by John Fernald, Israel Malkin and Mark Spiegel, can be read here.
Of course, it's worth noting that China is not the only country to have its official statistics questioned. Just last year, former General Electric (GE) CEO Jack Welch suggested on Twitter that the Obama administration, calling them "these Chicago guys," had manipulated the monthly jobs report for September in order to make the economy look better than it actually was just weeks before the election.
Welch then doubled down, writing in the Wall Street Journal that data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics might not be "precise" or "bias-free." He raised questions over three key statistics -- the labor-force participation rate, the growth in government workers and overall job growth -- saying big one-month gains "have to raise some eyebrows."
Premier Wen Jiabao opened China's annual parliamentary meetings Tuesday by issuing a new set of targets for the world's second largest economy.
The target for gross domestic product growth will remain 7.5%, but the government said it will carry a larger deficit in 2013 to help finance spending plans.
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The National Intelligence Council -- the same thinkers who produce National Intelligence Estimates -- has released an 140-page report that offers a series of prognostications about how the world might change in coming decades.
The report is full of all kinds of fun concepts, like powered exoskeletons designed to help the elderly, bio-based energy and 3-D printing. You can read the full report here.
But one of the biggest economics themes of the report is the MORECharles Riley - Dec 10, 2012 10:46 PM ET
The United States may be hurtling towards a fiscal cliff at the end of the year. But if the U.S. is Thelma then China is Louise. Despite continued fears about another debt ceiling debacle at the end of this year, China is buying U.S. Treasury debt like it's going out of style ... or like it's Facebook stock.
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China's booming economy is giving to the poor and taking from the rich when it comes to housing.
Some 14% of both the rich and the poor said they had trouble affording shelter in 2011, according to a recent Gallup survey. That's a dramatic change for each group in recent years, but the shifts were in opposite directions.
For the poor, 14% is half the percentage of people who didn't have enough MORETami Luhby - Mar 27, 2012 2:32 PM ET
U.S. exports to China topped $100 billion for the first time in 2011, the latest in a series of rapid expansions, according to a new report from the US-China Business Council.
That means China -- the world's second largest economy -- trails only Canada and Mexico as a buyer of American goods. Exports hit $103.9 billion in 2011, an increase of $12 billion over the previous year.
The recent growth will go MORECharles Riley - Mar 27, 2012 11:04 AM ET
China still owns a LOT of U.S. Treasury debt. But it looks like they got rid of more of it last year after Standard & Poor's stripped America of its triple-A credit rating than first thought.
Every month, the Treasury Department puts out a report showing how much foreign countries hold in U.S. securities. The latest report came out in mid-February and showed that as of the end of December, China MOREPaul R. La Monica - Mar 1, 2012 4:40 PM ET
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