I've been reading China's Q1 2009 GDP release, and no matter how hard I try, I can't imagine how the numbers can possibly make sense:
Total GDP grew 6.1 % year on year.
GDP can be decomposed into consumption, investment and foreign trade surplus.
- Investment was up 28.8 %.
- Consumption is not stated, but retail sales, which should be a good proxy for total consumption, are up 15.9 %.
- The trade surplus was up 50 %.
Yes, all components of GDP grew much faster than total GDP!
How can that be? I have no idea.
Some comments on the details:
- I find it extremely strange that investments are up 29 % in the context of a sharp economic slowdown - they should be growing less than the overall economy, not more. Who is doing all this investing?
- Overall consumption might have grown less than retail sales. However, we are also told that services (= "tertiary industry") have been growing faster than manufacturing (= "secondary industry"), so if anything, total consumption should have grown faster, not more slowly than retail sales.
- We are told that retail sales of furniture (as part of total retail sales) are up 24 %. No idea why they singled out furniture sales, probably because growth was particulary high. However, separate statistics show that production of furniture in Jan/Feb was only up 1.8 %. How can sales be up 24 %, when production is stagnating?
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