The Chinese miracle is not so miraculous after all, powered as it has been by debt. The problem with debt is that you have to pay it back. From David Stockman at davidstockmanscontracorner.com:
The proverbial peddlers of Florida swampland can now move over. They can’t hold a candle to the red suzerains of Beijing.
The latter had drawn a line in the sand at 7.0% GDP growth. Conveniently enough, the “consensus” estimate of so-called street economists was pegged at 6.8% for Q3, thereby giving authorities one thin decimal point through which to thread a “beat” at 6.9%.
By golly they did it!
Even then, China’s Ministry of Truth had to fiddle down the GDP deflator to negative 0.5% (for the second time this year) in order to hit the bulls eye. And that’s exactly the point.
No real world $10 trillion economy plagued with all of the turmoil evident in China’s whipsawing trade data or its volatile real estate development sector or its faltering rust belt and commodity-based industries can possibly deliver absolutely stable GDP numbers to the exact decimal point quarter after quarter.
In fact, the odds that these reports represent anything other than goal-seeked propaganda are so overwhelmingly high that they perforce raise another more important question. Why does Wall Street and its servile financial press not issue a loud collective guffaw when they are released?
But no, the Wall Street Journal took it all very seriously, noting both the “beat” and China’s claim that the “miss” wasn’t a miss at all:
The better-than-expected result—a Wall Street Journal survey of 13 economists forecast a median 6.8% gain—is likely to renew debate over the accuracy of China’s growth statistics…….Speaking at an event to promote entrepreneurism in Beijing on Monday, Premier Li Keqiang said “even though it was 6.9%, it is still a growth rate of around 7%.”
Right. China’s #2 communist boss is out promoting the “enterprenurial spirit” while emitting central planning propaganda to the decimal point.
You might find the irony exceptionally rich, but there is a larger message. Namely, the true size of China’s economy is unknowable to the nearest trillion or even several trillions. But that does not prevent most of Wall Street from taking seriously each and every word of China’s self-evidently clueless statist rulers spouting growth rates to the decimal point.
In truth, Wall Street has become so intellectually addled from its addiction to central bank enabled gambling that it no longer has a clue about what really matters. That’s why the next crash will come as an even greater surprise than the Lehman meltdown, and will be far more brutal and uncontainable, as well.
Yet the evidence that a China-led crash is on its way is hiding in plain sight. And what is being blithely ignored is not merely the blatant inconsistencies in its economic numbers—–such as the fact that electricity consumption has grown at only a 1.3% rate over the past year——or that its commerce with the outside world has shrunk drastically, with imports down by 23% and exports off by 3-6% in recent months.
Instead, the evidence that China is a slow-motion trainwreck lies in the very consistency of its Beijing-cooked numbers. Apparently, no one has told its credit-happy rulers that printing precise amounts of new GDP quarter after quarter by issuing credit at double the rate of nominal income growth will eventually result in the mother of all deflationary collapses.
To continue reading: Red Swan Descending