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China’s Economic Data: Guide for the Dazed and Confused

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The world’s second-largest economy is incredibly influential—trends in China help determine everything from the global prices of steel and pork to the balance of military power in the Taiwan Strait. It is also widely misunderstood.
While skepticism of China’s official figures is widespread, and justifiably so, some of the more granular official data are actually very useful. The picture can and does change over time: When a certain economic data point becomes a political target in China, the incentives for officials to fudge it rise. Still, understanding the lay of the land can help investors spot suspicious …

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