Bloomberg Businessweek

How China Makes Its Numbers

The integrity of the country’s economic data is no longer just an academic concern

China’s official economic data is sparse on details, opaque in methodology, and remarkably smooth—all of which feed suspicions that it’s tweaked for political purposes. In the final quarter of 2018 it was also something else: about right.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, in the last three months of 2018 the economy expanded 6.4 percent from a year earlier. That’s down from 6.5 percent in the previous quarter and the slowest pace since the nadir of the great financial crisis. But it’s not a disaster: With growth for the year as a whole at 6.6 percent,

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