China, the largest economy in the world (by Purchasing Power Parity measurement), reported 1Q17 economic growth of 6.9% earlier today. The best analysis of what’s going on that I’ve read appears in the New York Times.
The bottom line, though, is that this is a slight uptick from previous quarters–and good news for the rest of the world, since one of the big factors that is driving growth is exports.
Traditionally, the first question with Chinese statistics has been whether they attempt to represent what is happening in the economy or whether they’re the rose-colored view that central planning bosses insist must be shown, whatever the underlying reality may be.
I think this is a much less worrisome issue now than, say, ten years ago. But in addition to greater faith in statisticians, we also have other useful indicators about the state of China’s health. They’re all positive:
–As I wrote about a short while ago, demand for oil in China is rising.
–Last week, port operators reported an activity pickup, led by exports.
–And Macau casino patronage, which bottomed last summer, is showing surprising increases–with middle class customers, not wealthy VIPs, in the vanguard.
While I think that consumer spending in the US is probably better than recent flattish indicators would suggest (on the view that statistics are catching all of the pain of establishment losers but much less of the joy of new retail entrants), my guess is that increasing export demand for Chinese goods is coming from Continental Europe.