Remember the record plunge in China's manufacturing and non-manufacturing PMI for February when the entire economy imploded as a result of coronavirus pandemic? Well, forget all about it, because in the latest farce out of Beijing, moments ago the goalseekers at the National Bureau Of Statistics came up with March PMI numbers that are so ridiculous they not only make a mockery out of all Chinese "data" reporting, but put into question absolutely everything that Beijing is officially reporting in connection with the pandemic.
Here's how China just made everyone around the world cackle with mad laughter:
- Manufacturing PMI 52.0, exp. 44.8 and up from 35.7. The 50+ print means China is now solidly back in expansion; even more laughably, this was the highest print since September 2017.
- Non-manufacturing PMI 52.3, exp. 42.0, and up from 29.6. This print is also well in expansion.
And here is your perfectly normal, "we ain't even trying to pretend any more" V-shaped recovery.
This was the biggest beat of consensus expectations in history!
Putting China's magical recovery in context, here is the consensus forecast for China's GDP growth.
That these completely fabricated, laughable numbers come the day after China cut its reverse repo rate to 2.20%, the lowest on record, and broke its streak of 29 trading days without a reverse repo operating, injecting 50 billion yuan into the economy which is now cratering, was hardly a coincidence.
And speaking of cratering economy, just yesterday we reported that contrary to the PMI data, China's consumer default tsunami has now started, to wit:
- Delinquent credit-card debt in February rose by about 50% from a year earlier.
- China's delinquency ratio jumped to a staggering 20% in February, from 13% at the end of last year.
- An estimated 8 million people in China lost their jobs in February.
- Industrial profits crashed by 39%.
In short: China's real economy is collapsing and the more it contracts, the more compelled Beijing feels to boost consumer confidence with totally fabricated numbers, which however nobody believes any more.
So what to make of this statistical farce?
Simple: it's a political statement directed straight at the US and meant to indicate that China is now fixed, even though knowing just how idiotic these numbers must look, the China Statistical Bureau - as if out of guilt - said the "rebound does not mean the economy has returned to normal and March data alone cannot tell improving trend" adding that "further attention needed on PMI as China’s economy faces new challenges amid increasing pressure of inbound coronavirus infections."
Of course, that statement is for international consumption, domestically China will now parade with the highest PMI print in nearly three years as proof that as far as it is concerned, the Wu Flu is now only the world's problem.
As for the "data", well the algos will dutifully lap it up even though everyone now knows that not only China's economic data is completely made up but, by implication, its coronavirus statistics. Incidentally earlier today ground zero of the deadliest global pandemic in generations, Beijing, said that all 48 new coronavirus cases on March 30 were imported.
China's fake bullshit aside, the real news is that the world was badly in need of laughter, and China just delivered.