China’s stock market collapse and currency woes have defined international economic news since the first trading day of 2016. The crisis of confidence in the Chinese government’s ability to manage the economy precipitated global sell-offs, which, combined with low oil prices, have many countries feeling the crunch. But volatility in stock markets and currency markets is a symptom. Early on Tuesday, local time, China’s Bureau of Statistics said that China’s economy expanded 6.9 percent in 2015, and that growth for the last quarter of 2015 edged down to 6.8 percent. This is not unexpected, despite the relative excitement with which it will be greeted. But there are a few key observations to make.
The first is that China’s official statistics are eerily in line with China’s own projections. The official target set by the Chinese government was 7 percent GDP growth in 2015, down from 7.3 percent in 2014. We have written before about how Chinese official statistics must be tr