Jim Armitage: China’s rail freight data reveals a possible time bomb for its urbanisationComments Off on Jim Armitage: China’s rail freight data reveals a possible time bomb for its urbanisation
Beijing has highlighted the joys of dictatorship by ordering a $20 billion (£13.6 billion) intervention to calm the stock-market jitters.
Despite clear evidence the Chinese market is rigged, the move reassured London investors used to similar jiggery-pokery with quantitative easing in the West.
Less happy were leaked figures showing the amount of goods being freighted around on China’s railways falling faster than ever.
In a country where official GDP numbers are as reliable as Stalin’s, rail freight volumes are among the few bits of info you can trust.
Just ask the Chinese prime minister. He’s admitted official figures are so unreliable he only looks at railways, electricity use and bank lending when gauging growth.
Today’s leak says the amount of rail freight being moved round the country to build its urbanising economy fell 10.5% last year.
For the 500 million people who have migrated to cities in search of jobs in the past three decades, that sounds like a time bomb.
Trainspotting has never been so compelling.