For the legions of China-watchers within the world’s investment community, there have always been two difficult questions. One, which applies everywhere, is to look at the figures and to ask whether growth can continue, or if a bubble is forming. A second question, much more specific to China, is whether the figures themselves are genuine, and whether words can be taken at face value.
For an example, take the reforms announced at the Communist party’s plenum. They were very well-received, but followed by much analysis asking if the reforms were what they seemed.
It is not a new problem. Nobody is sure whether they believe the numbers coming out of China. Even Li Keqiang, now China’s premier, once commented that the nation’s gross domestic product figures were “man-made” and not to be trusted.