Bill Bishop: Is power use still a proxy for Chinese economy?

“So is electricity consumption no longer the reliable proxy for Chinese economic activity that it once was?” That’s the question posed by Bill Bishop at Sinocism today, following on reports that power consumption data in some sectors were inflated, and a new article from Caixin (Chinese version), in which some analysts argue the economy is moving to emphasize less power-intensive sectors.

It’s a good question, and one that should be vexing for both business and academic analysts hoping to understand changes in Chinese economic output. Of course, correcting models for a change in sectoral dominance is not so tough—if only we had good data to start with.