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All the charts tell the same story: China’s economy looks weak

An employee works at a machine manufacturing factory in Huaibei, Anhui province, September 1, 2014. Growth in China's vast factory sector slackened in August as foreign and domestic demand slowed, stoking speculation that further policy easing would be needed to prevent the economy from stumbling once more. REUTERS/Stringer (CHINA - Tags: BUSINESS) CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA
It’s getting harder to find bright spots in the Chinese economy.
By Matt Phillips
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

As skeptical as analysts are about the quality of Chinese economic data, the numbers all seem to be telling the same story lately. China looks pretty darn weak.

Now it’s true that this morning’s “flash manufacturing” purchasing managers’ index stayed at least above 50, the level that indicates growth or contraction. (Observers were expecting far worse.) But a parade of other data points have painted a pretty clear picture of economic weakness in the People’s Republic. Note that some have gaps for periods in which data wasn’t reported.

GDP has been stagnant

Chinese home prices have started to roll over

Investment growth has been slowing markedly

 As has growth in the retail sector

 Growth in industrial production has hit a six-year low

Electricity production, a good economic indicator, has gone negative, too

Of course, there are those who’ve wanted to read all this bad news as good news. They’re the ones who expect the Chinese government to swoop in with a magical plan to prop up growth. But besides pumping money into the banking system, there seems to be precious little indication that a broad-based push toward massive stimulus is in the offing.

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