For the second half of 2015, how dicey did it really get in China? It’s difficult to assess going by something like real GDP given how notorious the Chinese have become for hitting their growth targets no matter what. But for those two quarters we can infer a whole bunch of nasty problems by the difference between real GPD growth and nominal expansion. In both Q3 and Q4 2015, real GDP was gaining faster than nominal (deflation).
From this perspective the rest of China’s economic accounts make much more sense. The Big 3, Industrial Production, Retail Sales, and Fixed Asset Investment (FAI), all exhibit the same troubling tendencies. Industrial Production fell back to just 6% year-over-year again in June 2018, with Chinese industry now just one month shy of four years at this same low level. China was once the world’s industrial engine, the means for global growth in actual rather than rhetorical terms. It still is, only now it does nothing other than sputter in direct contradiction of the Western boom narrative.