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China Delays Release of GDP and Economic Performance

China Delays Release of GDP and Economic Performance

China has announced without explanation that it was delaying indefinitely the release of economic data that had been scheduled for yesterday (October 18).

The economic statistics include closely watched numbers for economic growth from July through September, and is expected to show continued lacklustre performance.

The delay by China’s National Bureau of Statistics, which analysts said was highly unusual, comes as the country’s ruling elite gather in Beijing for a weeklong, twice-a-decade national congress of the Communist Party.

The authorities have taken elaborate measures to prevent any disruptions during the gathering, from halting almost all travel into Beijing to requiring frequent Covid-19 tests across practically the entire country.

The postponement of the report drew speculation that the data might have been worse than officials expected. Western economists had been predicting that China would announce that the economy grew a little more than 3 per cent in the third quarter compared with last year. That would be better than the growth of just 0.4 per cent in the second quarter, when a two-month pandemic lockdown in Shanghai severely depressed many industries’ output.

But it would still be far below the target that Beijing set in March, aiming for growth of “about 5.5 percent” this year.

Large countries seldom postpone the release of even a single economic statistic for fear of hurting financial confidence, much less the broad array of market-moving data that China’s National Bureau of Statistics has now delayed.

In addition to deferring the release of gross domestic product data for the third quarter, the government agency postponed the release of September data for retail sales, industrial production, fixed asset investment and other categories.

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