China’s GDP data release always generates great market excitement despite rarely straying more than 25bp below or above the government target. This stability has led a number of analysts to propose their own measures, typically based on a variety of Chinese proxy data but, in the end, not that different from the official numbers. In this article I argue that, based on the performance of countries comparable to China, the latter’s GDP growth could be as low as half the official number and that markets are likely overestimating China’s importance for the global economy. That being said, China has one of the highest levels of corporate debt in the world and slower growth implies greater risks of financial instability.
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