China Delays Release of PMI Data Amid Economic Slowdown

China Delays Release of PMI Data Amid Economic Slowdown
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China postponed the release of data from a monthly survey of industry-specific manufacturing purchasing. A government official in the country said that the agencies responsible in compiling and analyzing the data have limited time due to a large volume of responses, according to report from Bloomberg.

China Delays Release of PMI Data Amid Economic Slowdown

Cai Jin, vice president of the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said, “We now have 3,000 samples in the survey and from a technical point of view, time is very limited — there are many industries, you know.” Cai rejected the idea that the reason behind the suspension was due to the weakness of the data, and indicated that the decision was temporary.

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Data from the survey is compiled and analyzed by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing along with the National Bureau of Statistics. The number of manufacturing companies included in the survey increased from 820 to 3,000. The agencies also reclassified the industries from 31 to 21 categories.

Analysts opined that the lack of data on industries such as steel makes it more difficult for them to evaluate the current economic situation of the country. According to Bloomberg, China’s trade numbers were inflated this year due to fake invoices. The readings on export orders, imports and inventories were also removed from the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). The government did not provide any explanation regarding the omission of data.

Export Growth Of China Exaggerated

In May, Bloomberg reported that China’s export growth from January to April was exaggerated by 4 to 13 percent. Based on the estimate of Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC), the overstated figure on the country’s export was one-tenth of the actual figure. China’s spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce acknowledged the inflated data on trade as arbitrage transactions avoided rules.

Xu Xiangchun, researcher and chief analysts at commented, “Suspension of the monthly data, without prior notice, makes the research work difficult for us.” China’s industry-specific PMI data is accessible through paid subscription. Generally, a press release providing a summary of the PMI data is also available.

A person involved in releasing the PMI data on steel industry said that bureau of statistics changed its process in compiling figures, which caused the delay. China is the largest producer of steel. In May, the country accounts 49.18 percent of crude steel production worldwide based on data from the World Steel Association.

China’s Hard Landing And Collapse

Meanwhile, the latest Bank of America Merrill Lynch Fund Manager Survey indicated that China’s biggest threat is hard landing and commodity price collapse. The IMF also cited that the country is facing significant challenges citing the rapid growth in total social financing, which raises concerns over the quality of investments as credit flows in less supervised areas of the its financial system.

Last month, Societe Generale economist Wei Yao reported that China’s debt reached an alarming level. According to him, the country’s corporate debt is 1.5 times the size of its economic output, and one third of Chinese firms are borrowing additional money to pay high interests on their existing liabilities.

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