What Do U.S. Economists Think of Official China Statistics? ‘Only a Fool Would Believe Them’ – Real Time Economics

Workers install car parts at their assembly line in a factory in Qingdao, in east China’s Shandong province, in July. Official data showed China’s GDP expanded 7% year-on-year in the second quarter, official data showed, but U.S. economists don’t buy it.
STR/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

An overwhelming majority of the respondents to the latest Wall Street Journal survey of 64 economists–not all of whom answered every question–said China’s gross domestic product figures miss the mark. How far-fetched are the numbers? Well, here are a few comments on the question, “Do you think that China’s GDP statistics accurately reflect the state of the Chinese economy?”

“Official data are manufactured to fit the government’s narrative.” –Stephen Stanley, Amherst Pierpont Securities

“The joke is that 78.352% of all their statistics are made up.” –Bernard Baumohl, The Economic Outlook Group

“Does anyone really believe in them?” –Joel Naroff, Naroff Economic Advisors

“Only a fool would believe them.” –Rajeev Dhawan, Georgia State University

“A government wielding such a heavy hand in markets is surely influencing/manipulating official statistics.” –Sean Snaith, University of Central Florida

“Accurate measurement is a challenge everywhere—especially there.” –Lou Crandall, Wrightson ICAP

“Overstate GDP by about 2 to 3 percentage points.” — llen Sinai, Decision Economics

“They know less about their service sector than we do.” — Diane Swonk, Mesirow Financial

“GDP is as good as the data collection and measurement process. Thus, it is not so much about politics or intentional errors but more about the complexity of gathering and interpreting the available information, which may include significant noise.” — Nathaniel Karp, BBVA

“Chinese economic statistics are notoriously unreliable. The GDP data tend to underestimate up-ticks and downturns, obscuring the true volatility of cycles.” — Thomas Swift, American Chemistry Council

“They make it up. Nary a revision.” — David Shulman, UCLA Anderson School of Management

“Statistics are far from perfect, but do reflect general trends.” — Lynn Reaser, Point Loma Nazarene University

“They probably overstate current health of the economy.” — Ram Bhagavatula, Combinatorics Capital

Related reading:

Interactive: Economic Forecasting Survey

WSJ Survey: China’s Growth Statements Make U.S. Economists Skeptical

WSJ Survey: Most Economists Predict Fed Will Stay on Hold in September

 


 


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11 September 2015 | 2:14 pm – Source: blogs.wsj.com

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