China Q3 GDP Growth Disappoints, Slides To New Record Low

It's that time of the month again... when China drops all its heavy-hitting macro-economic data (goal-seeked or not - allegedly) with expectations for slowing industrial production and overall economic growth (but a bounce in retail sales).

Recent aggregate macro data has been disappointing as China's credit impulse (despite every effort) has failed to inspire...

Source: Bloomberg

The other main figures we had before today were the two manufacturing PMI readings, one of which showed some clear improvement, and the other showed continued deceleration; and both exports and imports contracted, in a clear hit from the trade war. The 8.5% slide in imports was particularly worrying.

And of course, don't forget that consumer price inflation is roaring thanks to piggy-driven food-flation...

Source: Bloomberg

The point being, no matter how 'bad' tonight's China data is, a broad-based RRR-cut stimulus package is not high on the CCP's agenda as Xi would prefer the social unrest in Hong Kong does not spread to the ruralities of the mainland as food-shortages spark chaos.

So, let's see just how good or bad things are...

  • China GDP YoY +6.0% YoY MISS (+6.2% prior, +6.1% exp)

  • China Industrial Production YoY +5.6% BEAT (+5.6% prior, +5.5% exp)

  • China Retail Sales YoY +7.8% MEET (+7.5% prior, +7.8% exp)

  • China Fixed Asset Investment YoY +5.4% MISS (+5.5% prior, +5.5% exp)

  • China Property Investment YoY +10.5% (+10.5% prior)

  • China Surveyed Jobless Rate 5.2% (5.2% prior)

China Jan.-Sept. Pork output falls the most on record, and Iris Pang, greater China economist at ING, tells Bloomberg TV:

"The very strong industrial production number is actually boosted by infrastructure activities."

The retail sales gain is the best since June (despite passenger car sales have slid for 14 months), suggesting solid domestic demand has helped offset at least some of the headwinds from trade. But, as Bloomberg reports, ING's Pang cautions not to get too excited about the retail-sales gain, though. She points out that consumption figures in China aren't quite comparable with the retail-sales figures you get in economies like the U.S. In China they include things like business consumption of materials used in construction projects, she says.

Additionally, Pang says she is "a little bit worried'' about the dip in fixed-asset investment growth. The pace of infrastructure spending may slow, endangering the 6% growth pace, she says.


Source: Bloomberg

The Chinese goalseek-o-tron appears out-of-order tonight, when moments ago Beijing reported that China's Q3 GDP rose just 6.0% YoY, below the 6.1% consensus had expected - and the lowest since 'modern' records began 27 years ago in 1992, dipping below even the financial crisis low of 6.4%.

Source: Bloomberg

The initial reaction in markets was unsurprising - US equity futures rallied! because bad news is good news, right...

Perhaps the machines should glance at the inflation chart above before getting all hot and bothered.