When the official Chinese PMI printed a few days ago we noted the ‘odd’ fact that several of the key sub-indices were ‘missing’. While most put this down to some ‘hiccup’ or aberration, we wondered at the time what this might mean in a nation that has seemingly gone out of its way to baffle with Schrodinger bullshit for much of the last few ‘recovery’ years in the face of collapsing electricity production, copper/cement/steel prices, fake trade invoices, and a shadow-banking system so re-hypothecated that even the PBOC has decided enough is enough. Well, as Bloomberg reports, it turns out it wasn’t an aberration, but new policy from China’s Federation of Logistics and Purchasing which has now officially suspended the release of industry-specific data from the monthly survey of manufacturers. As one analyst put it, “the random absence of official data is disorienting,” which is likely exactly the plan.
China suspended the release of industry-specific data from a monthly survey of manufacturing purchasing managers,
“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 Jin, vice president of the China Federation of Logistics & Purchasing, which compiles the data with the National Bureau of Statistics, told reporters today in Beijing.
The disappearance of data on industries including steel adds to issues hampering analysis of the world’s second-biggest economy, after fake invoices inflated trade numbers this year. The manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index also omitted readings on export orders, imports and inventories without any explanation from the government.
“Suspension of the monthly data, without prior notice, makes the research work difficult for us,” Xu Xiangchun, a steel researcher and chief analyst at Mysteel.com, said by phone from Beijing. “The random absence of official data is disorienting.”
… the logistics federation told … that the figures would be “temporarily” suspended without giving a reason.
He didn’t elaborate on the reason for the decision beyond rejecting the idea that it was because the data showed too much weakness.
Yesterday, a person involved in producing a set of data on the country’s steel industry said that the release was suspended after the statistics bureau decided to change how the figures are compiled.
It isn’t yet clear what changes will be made and in what time frame, or if the data for July would be released next month, said the person, who asked not to be identified as he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the matter.