China does its bit to calm worries about the world economy
Jul 14th 2011 | HONG KONG | from the print edition
A RUNNER cannot sprint all the time, noted Sheng Laiyun of China’s National Bureau of Statistics, after the release of China’s new growth figures on July 13th; he must pace himself so that he can run better later. Over the past four quarters China’s economy has recorded what runners call “even splits”, keeping a steady pace, lap after lap. It grew by 9.5% in the second quarter (year on year), having grown at a similar rate in the previous three.
The figures helped allay fears of a hard landing for China’s economy. But they raised some doubts about whether the economy is landing at all. Consumer prices rose by 6.4%. in the year to June. The economy’s pace may be steady. But is it too fast to sustain?
China’s macroeconomists, if not its consumers, can take some comfort from the nature of the inflation. Two-thirds of it was due to food prices, and much of that was due to pork. Farmers responded to low pork prices last year by breeding fewer pigs, some of which have since fallen victim to porcine diarrhoea. That pushed up prices by 11.4% in June alone, an annualised rate of 265%. This has played havoc with many economists’ inflation forecasts. “Perhaps I should have become a veterinarian,” says Andy Rothman of CLSA.