Guest Contribution: “Is China’s growth rate negative?”

Today, we are pleased to present a guest contribution written by John G. Fernald, Jack Mueller, and Mark M. Spiegel (all of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco).  Our views are our own, and not necessarily those of the Federal Board of Governors or the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.


China has announced, through the third quarter, quarterly growth figures for 2021 that are far below its robust pre-pandemic trend. In the first half of 2021, published quarterly growth averaged an annual rate of 2.8 percent, but the pace slowed to an annual rate of just 0.8% in the third quarter. It is no surprise that these figures are well below the outsized growth rates in the final three quarters of 2020, when the economy grew at a 24 percent annual rate as it rebounded from the deep pandemic trough. The 2021 figures are also well below China’s pre-pandemic trend pace of around 6%.

In this Econbrowser article, we use a quarterly version of the FRBSF China Cyclical Activity Tracker (China CAT) to evaluate the recent pace of China’s slowdown. Chinn (2021) discusses inconsistencies between China’s reported quarter-to-quarter GDP growth (the figures we annualized and cited above) and other published GDP data. Moreover, several studies have raised broader concerns about the accuracy of China’s GDP data. Nakamura, et al (2016) find that official aggregate consumption data are “too smooth” relative to levels expected from standard theory. Pinovsky and Sala-i-Martin (2016) find that China’s reported GDP growth rate appears to be exceptionally high relative to its growth in light emissions, as measured from satellite data. Chen, Chen, Hsieh and Song (2019) use both value-added tax data and local indicators less conducive to manipulation and estimate that GDP growth from 2010-2016 was 1.8 percentage points lower than reported.

The FRBSF China CAT [Fernald, Hsu, and Spiegel (2021)] examines the accuracy of Chinese statistics using indices of economic activity, such as electricity, rail shipments, and industrial production, converted into weighted averages of data on a broad range of measures of economic activity in China. The statistical technique we use to create these weighted averages, known as principal components (PC), provides an index capturing as much of the variability as possible in the individual series.  Conceptually, this index is like the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (see, e.g., Brave 2008) for the United States.

To choose among the large number of possible combinations of indicators of activity, Fernald, Hsu, and Spiegel (2021) consider the relationship of various combinations of indicators with China’s real imports, as measured by trading-partner exports to China. For countries with reliable statistical agencies, real imports comove closely with real GDP. Importantly, our approach provides external validation, as trading-partner exports are not subject to manipulation or statistical error by Chinese authorities. (We estimate all relationships prior to the U.S.-China trade disputes of the late 2010s as well as the pandemic.)

The resulting China CAT series is updated quarterly, with the data and additional documentation (available on the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco web site). The series uses year-over-year data and has mean zero and unit standard deviation. (Hence, the series focuses on fluctuations, and is silent on whether the trend is appropriately measured.)

However, we are currently interested in the most recent turndown in China growth, and year-over-year data are heavily influenced by the substantial volatility in levels that occurred a year ago. Hence, we have now constructed a new quarter-on-quarter version of the China CAT, which we term the “QCAT”. Although the underlying series is normalized to have mean zero and unit standard deviation, we report them here in “GDP units,” by scaling by the standard deviation of GDP and adding back the estimated trend in reported GDP.

Our results are shown in the figure above. Prior to the pandemic, GDP was somewhat smoother than the QCAT value, consistent with the “excessive smoothness” of the published GDP data since 2013 (see Fernald et al, 2020).  But in 2020, during the most volatile period of the pandemic, the QCAT yields similar quarterly results to the official GDP growth figures.

However, we begin to see marked discrepancies in 2021. For the first quarter of this year, the QCAT corresponded to GDP growth of nearly 10% at an annual rate, well above the tepid 0.8% annualized official growth figure. But the QCAT for the second quarter comes in much lower, at 1.6% annualized, compared with the official figure of 4.8%. Most recently, in the third quarter, the QCAT is sharply negative, at -5%—only the second time since 2000 (when our data began), apart from the pandemic, that China’s GDP growth has been negative (the other being -4% growth in the fourth quarter of 2008, during the Great Recession). The official third-quarter figure, while weak, was still positive, albeit under 1%.

Among the individual components of the QCAT, growth was particularly low for freight and retail growth during the quarter, corresponding to GDP growth of -6.1% and -5.9% respectively. There were brighter spots, such as fixed asset investment, which entered with growth 1.9% above trend. Yet, more recent figures for October and November show a net decline in fixed asset investment over those months.

 

Conclusion

Prior to the pandemic, the China CAT index of non-GDP indicators suggested published GDP was “excessively smooth.” Nevertheless, during the worst of the pandemic in 2020, our quarterly QCAT tracked quarterly GDP closely.

However, in the second and third quarters of 2021, a notable gap has opened up: non-GDP indicators, as captured by the QCAT, appear much more concerning than the (already weak) GDP figures. In fact, the QCAT suggests that China’s economy is actually contracting. These findings are broadly consistent with Chinn (2021), who also finds evidence that, with typical seasonal adjustment methods, other published GDP data for China imply negative growth in the third quarter.  In this light, perhaps it is no surprise that China recently announced measures to provide additional monetary stimulus through cuts in required reserve ratios, even as other central banks around the world move towards tightening.

 

John G. Fernald is a senior research advisor in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and professor of economics at INSEAD.

Jack Mueller is a research associate in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Mark M. Spiegel is a senior policy advisor in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

 

References

Brave, Scott (2008). “Economic trends and the Chicago Fed National Activity Index.” Chicago Fed Letter No. 250, May.

Chen, Wei, Xilu Chen, Chang-Tai Hsieh and Zheng Song, (2019), “A Forensic Examination of China’s National Accounts, NBER Working Paper No. 25754, April.

Chinn, Menzie, 2021.“The Extent and Implications of the China Slowdown.“ Econbrowser, October 25, 2021. http://econbrowser.com/archives/2021/10/the-extent-and-implications-of-the-china-slowdown.

Fernald, John G., Eric Hsu, and Mark M. Spiegel, (2021), “Is China fudging its GDP figures? Evidence from trading partner data,” Journal of International Money and Finance, 114, June, 102406. [ungated working paper version]

Nakamura, Emi, Jon Steinsson, and Miao Liu, (2016), “Are Chinese Growth and Inflation Too Smooth?: Evidence from Engel Curves,” American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics. 8(3): 113–144.

Pinovsky, Maxim and Xavier Sala-i-Martin (2016). “Lights, Camera, … Income! Illuminating the National Accounts-Household Surveys Debate.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 131 (2): 579-631, May.

Stock, James H., and Mark W. Watson, (2016), “Dynamic Factor Models, Factor Augmented Vector Autoregressions, and Structural Vector Autoregressions in Macroeconomics.” In Handbook of Macroeconomics, Volume 2A, edited by John B. Taylor and Harald Uhlig. Amsterdam: North-Holland.

Wikileaks (2007).  http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/03/07BEIJING1760.html.

 

 

 

119 thoughts on “Guest Contribution: “Is China’s growth rate negative?”

    1. pgl

      And exactly why is this “interesting” to Stevie “I hate China” pooh? Are you going onto Fox and Friends to gloat that this economy might have a quarter or two of negative growth? Let’s hope no one notices your claims that the US is importing an incredibly high amount of goods from China (even though that claim of yours was your usual BS).

      1. Barkley Rosser

        pgl,

        I think it is time for you to stop going on about Kopits appearing anywhere. I have spoken at many right wing venues. “Moses Herzog” made a fool of himself here giving Jim Hamilton a hard time for appearing at the Hoover Institution., what a piece of worthless trash, “Moses,” not Jim. We try to communicate our knowledge and views when we have the opportunities to do so. I have done so all my life. All over the word, 33 countries last count, lots of venues, all under my own name.

        Sorry. Those of us who appear under our real names are morally far superior to all of you worthless cowards. Your excuses for not following the request of the hosts of this blog to go by your real names is utterly contemptible. You are all total worthless cowards, aside from a handful in serious security situations. As it is, I know about that situation, and have kept quiet about various matters when it was clear they needed to be kept quiet.

        But you moral cowards. I have utter contempt for all of you, even as many of you I think are intelligent and well informed commentators whose statements I take seriously. But, bottom line? You are all just pathetic cowardly garbage, all of you.

        1. pgl

          The original Angrybear insisted on us using pseudo names. What happened to Kash is a prime example of why some of us do not have the freedom of expression that those lucky enough to have tenure at a tolerant university. So that is my story.

          I do not object to people appearing on certain shows but I do object to intellectual garbage as a means of getting invited on Faux News. That is what he is doing.

        2. paddy kivlin

          far out, man!

          share what substance gives you such insight and moral fortitude!

          talking about monikers with pro growth liberal……

          1. T. Shaw

            This phenomenon is mainly limited to schlemiels, academics, the media, Biden’s string pullers, et al.

            The rest of us know China GDP growth is whatever the BOSS of the World wants it to be. If it looks as if its declining, likely he wants to pull some strings.

            I think it helps them to emotionally deflect Biden’s pandemic catastrophes.

            Mazel tov, menschen.

        3. Econned

          “Barkley Rosser”,
          Hahahahahaha. Sounds as if your adult diapers are in a wad. These diatribes from your “morally superior” keyboard remind me of the comments from pre-teens who would infiltrate the early Yahoo chatrooms. It was their first exposure to something resembling freedom in the outside world and they didn’t know how to behave other than hurl baseless and childish insults. I suppose your excuse of being “morally superior” would be understandable if only I weren’t so morally un-superior to your incessant nuttery.

        4. Moses Herzog

          I believe we were encouraged to or nudged by Menzie to use our real names. I don’t think we were ever specifically “requested”. Happy to be corrected on that.

          I’ve been open about personal things, arguably too much so, a decent amount of it unflattering when referencing myself. I don’t know why someone would use a pseudonym to “create lies” about themselves that don’t even make themselves look that great. Just sharing the fact I used to be a semi-driver (‘it’s just an extended vacation”) and taught my own native language in China (“Oh wow, teaching your own native tongue, that must be hard”) opens a person up to all kinds of personal shots, along with other things even more unflattering I have shared here. I seem to recall a certain PhD of Virginia clutching out for insults related to that, after grasping out for empty air on his own arguments on whatever the subject was at the time.

          The part of your argument I have a problem with, is that when one uses a pseudonym, that criticisms or insults don’t hurt (certainly when those insults/criticisms actually land , something rarely worried about in your case Barkley). And also you seem to think that using one’s real name is some kind of inoculation against being told when you are wrong. Aside from the many fallacies of this self-serving criterion, this blog would turn into Boredomville USA overnight would Professor Hamilton or Menzie institute such a rule.

          Such a laundry list of Hoover Institute winners. ALL using their REAL names. Former “Visiting Scholar” at Hoover, Stephen Moore “communicating his knowledge”.

          https://twitter.com/firinglineshow/status/1123323568291446788

          https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/02/trumps-federal-reserve-nominee-stephen-moores-messy-divorce.html

          “Stephen Moore’s divorce records paint President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Federal Reserve board as a brazen philanderer who openly talked about his purported mistress in front of his kids.”

          “Moore was found in contempt of court in 2013 for shorting his ex-wife Allison on more than $300,000 he owed her for alimony, child support and the balance of their divorce settlement.”

          Now I could put additional links here, related to Edwin Meese, Edward Lazear. Other Hoover associated names I’ll leave out in fairness of being “borderline”.
          https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-11-17/stanford-hoover-institution

          If Professor Hamilton is proud to be connected to those guys and the general work at Hoover, hey, he’s obviously got your applause, so why would he be concerned about anonymous readers’ thoughts?? Anonymous commenters are obviously a low-sinking group; hardly worth considering if you are Professor Hamilton I think. It sure seems to get your goat, Dearest Barkley.

          Enjoyed your comment though. Had been wondering for the longest time what decade you would finally notice your NY pal on here was an anonymous commenter. Are you ticked off no one wanted your “007” story from the Mideast?? You can always self-publish and see if your wife picks up a copy.

          1. Macroduck

            If one has clients who might read economics blogs, one has three choices in commenting, knowing that clients may see those comments: say exactly what you think, say what you want clients to see or moderate your comment so that nobody could take umbrage.

            But wait, there’s a fourth choice. One can comment anonymously. Then, one can say what one thinks without much risk to income.

          2. macroduck

            Moses,

            Entirely off topic, except for the part about living and working in China: Are you aware of Abigail Washburn? She’s worth seeking out if you are not put off by banjos. Youtube would be the place to start.

          3. Moses Herzog

            @ Macroduck
            I will definitely look Abigail Washburn up. actually, no joke, this makes me feel slightly guilty, because I think you had recommended something else to me that I fully intended to look up (I think it was a female writer??) that I don’t recall if I ever did. Do you remember who that was now?? Because I do indeed want to look her up. I think she was a fiction writer or maybe a philosophy writer?? But you had quoted something she had said that I thought was above average insightful and somehow I got side-tracked on reading her stuff I think. This would have been a while back, like 9 months ago or something?? It’s going to irk me in my head and gnaw on me ’til I can get that name.

            I should spell out for general transparency to Menzie’s readers (as if they care), it is nothing so integrity based as professional reasons that I choose to be anonymous. It is simply the treasuring of my own privacy.

          4. Moses Herzog

            I already like it. I see she mentions Hohhot. I had more than one student from Hohhot, and some of my best students when I taught at “Nationalities University” (there are 3 I believe, and I also think misnamed, but you can’t convince them) were Inner Mongolian. One of the super cool things about working at that University was it was growing super-fast because it was tied into the central government (Directly supervised by Beijing rather than the immediate province) and so they were throwing tons of government funds at it and building were literally sprouting up all over the campus. And the other super-cool thing was you would meet students from many different provinces (where with other schools you might just meet kids that were like 80%+ from that same city or province). You just couldn’t believe the growth there in 5–7 years unless you viewed it with your own eyes. My two best students (at that school anyway) were from Inner Mongolia. The one’s name was “Sunny” and the other, even though she was my very best student I have forgot her name which is a little embarrassing. Started with an H but I’ll be damned if I can remember it at this moment. I kept my old attendance sheets, I should be the old fuddy-duddy now and look up her name. She was astoundingly sharp and the worst part of it, because I respected her intelligence was I don’t even think she liked me as a person/teacher. Anywayz…. it’s funny what will stick in your memory. That was a good class, I hope I didn’t short-change them.

          5. Moses Herzog

            It’s so funny how classes have “personalities” unto themselves, like individual people. I had some classes where students showed up totally disengaged. Which would kind of enrage me (at least internally). And then other classes which were just so great and enjoyable and responsive, and interactive. Sometimes (though I’d say pretty rarely) you get a class where you feel as a teacher you got more from the students than you gave them. It’s a kind of nauseating feeling after the fact. Like they gave you a pocket-watch made of gold and you handed them a Lego block toy you got free at McDonalds. It’s a sickening feeling on some levels.

          6. Moses Herzog

            Name Finally came to me~~without looking at the attendance sheets. “Hattie”. Sharp girl. Her Mom was a doctor. I wager neither “suffered fools much” which is probably why she didn’t like her foreign teacher so much,

        5. 2slugbaits

          Barkley Rosser I have to disagree with you here. There are some very good reasons for posting under pseudonyms. In fact, I believe that a better policy would be to prohibit people from posting under their real names. There are a couple of things that I don’t think you’ve considered. First, in the early blog years sites encouraged people to post under a pseudonym. And over the years, now decades, those pseudonyms have taken on a very real identity that persists across time and across blog sites. Compelling people to begin posting under their real names rather than familiar pseudonyms would break continuity. To give a real world example, our friend CoRev has a long history of being a climate change denier. Fixing his identity across the years is a way of holding him accountable for some of the asinine things he’s said. All that history would be lost if he were required to post under his real name. A second and more serious reason for discouraging the use of real names is that you would lose the virtue of uniqueness. Suppose CoRev was compelled to use his real name. And suppose his real name was something relatively common; e.g., Larry Summers. There must be thousands of Larry Summers out there. Now put yourself in the place of Larry Summers the Harvard economist. He’d spend the rest of his career trying to set the record straight. In your case you have a relatively unique name so it may not be much of a problem for you; however, that’s not true of everyone. Many people share their name with tens of thousands of others. That’s why they’re called “common names.” It gets worse. Insisting upon the use of real names might unwittingly contribute to racism for the same reason people with non-WASP sounding names get disrespected when it comes to job or home loan applications. You saw the kind of abuse Menzie took based on his name.

      2. Steven Kopits

        I am a huge Sinophile. But you are correct, I think Xi is the wrong guy for the job. He is dangerous to the US, to global stability and to China itself. China needs to move on from him.

        1. pgl

          Xi is not exactly my kind of leader. Neither was Donald Trump. Funny thing – we do not have the right to choose China’s leaders. And if you Trumpians get your way – American voters may not get to choose our leaders either.

          1. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Steven Kopits: No one disagrees (except perhaps the CCP – vanguard of the proletariat and all that jazz) that the Chinese people should have the right to select its own leaders.

          2. Steven Kopits

            The Biden administration has not said it. It has to, over and over again. To Xi, to the press, to the public. The US expects China to hold free and fair elections.

          3. 2slugbaits

            Menzie No one disagrees…[that] people should have the right to select [their] own leaders.

            Well, I can think of a few GOP controlled state legislatures that believe MAGA politicians should be able to choose their voters.

          4. pgl

            “Steven Kopits
            December 19, 2021 at 7:08 am
            The Biden administration has not said it. It has to, over and over again. To Xi, to the press, to the public. The US expects China to hold free and fair elections.”

            How many times did Trump say it? Oh yea – zero! How many times did you insist that he cease being Xi’s poodle?

          5. pgl

            2slugbaits
            December 19, 2021 at 9:12 am

            Thank you for making my point which Steve just ducks by claiming he did not vote for Trump. My reaction to Steve’s ducking is that whether he voted for him or not is irrelevant. Has Steve gone after the GOP want to b tyrants? Of course not because that would have him banned from Fox and Friends.

          6. Steven Kopits

            The Trump administration should also have said it. I may well be in the record to that effect. Certainly, my views are not new.

  1. ltr

    http://www.news.cn/english/2021-10/18/c_1310252462.htm

    October 18, 2021

    China’s GDP expands 9.8 pct in first three quarters

    BEIJING — China’s economy continued stable recovery in the first three quarters of this year with major indicators staying within a reasonable range, official data showed Monday.

    The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 9.8 percent year on year in the first three quarters, putting the average growth for the period in the past two years at 5.2 percent, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.

    In the third quarter (Q3), the country’s GDP grew 4.9 percent year on year, slower than the growth of 18.3 percent in Q1 and 7.9 percent in Q2.

    “The Chinese economy has maintained the recovery momentum in the first three quarters with progress in structural adjustment and high quality development,” said NBS spokesperson Fu Linghui.

    Consumption contributed the lion’s share to the economic growth in Jan.-Sept., while net exports contributed 19.5 percent to the GDP increase.

    Major economic indicators showed continued improvements across the board, with retail sales of consumer goods jumping 16.4 percent year on year in the first three quarters this year.

    China’s value-added industrial output went up 11.8 percent year on year in the first three quarters, while fixed-asset investment went up 7.3 percent year on year during the period. *

    The country’s surveyed urban unemployment rate stood at 4.9 percent in September, 0.5 percentage points lower than the same period last year, NBS data showed.

    During the Jan.-Sept. period, China added 10.45 million new urban jobs in the first three quarters, achieving 95 percent of the target for the whole year.

    Recognizing the progress, Fu cautioned against rising uncertainties in the international environment and uneven recovery in the domestic economy, adding that the country will take various measures to keep the economy running within a reasonable range.

    * http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2021-07/15/c_1310062512.htm

    Fixed-asset investment includes capital spent on infrastructure, property, machinery and other physical assets.

    1. ltr

      http://www.news.cn/english/2021-10/26/c_1310268260.htm

      October 26, 2021

      Key insights into China’s current economic situation

      BEIJING — As 2021 marks the beginning of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), as well as the start of its journey to fully build itself into a modern socialist country, the nation’s economic performance has come under the spotlight.

      How is China’s economy doing so far? Are there any new situations emerging, or existing issues left unresolved? With the pandemic and economic trend becoming more complicated, where is the world’s second-largest economy heading?

      In response to the significant attention to and concerns over the Chinese economy from both home and abroad, Xinhua has interviewed a number of authoritative departments and individuals, and the following are some of their opinions and judgments on 10 issues of China’s economy.

      GROWTH MOMENTUM

      China’s GDP grew 4.9 percent year on year in the third quarter, slower than its growth of 18.3 percent in the first quarter and 7.9 percent in the second quarter. In the first three quarters, the country logged a 9.8 percent GDP expansion, well above its annual growth target of over 6 percent, official data shows.

      The growth slowdown was the result of challenges including a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and severe flooding in certain regions, as well as a higher comparison basis in the same period last year, according to authorities.

      China is fully capable of achieving its social and economic development goals for the whole year, and the sound momentum of economic development for the long-run has remained unchanged, they told Xinhua

      DOMESTIC DEMAND ….

    2. Barkley Rosser

      “ltr,”

      I shall take you more seriously if you go back to calling yourself “anne.” Of course, if that was all along a fake name, then do not bother and stick with this garbage fake name “ltr.” BTW, is this an acronym? Maybe “Less Truth Redoubled”? At least pgl’s fake name is an acronym for a fake name that expresses a position, “pro growth liberal.”

  2. macroduck

    I’d guess this piece was written befroe the release of retail sale and housing price data on Wednesday. Both were weak. Despite billions and billions of vaccinations in China (apologies to Carl Sagan fans), shutdowns are on the rise in China. We don’t know whether that’s the result of seasonal effects, the arrival of Omicron, weakening of the already weak effects of China’s vaccines or other factors. We probably never will, given China’s dishonesty about bad news.

    We do know that China’s approach to Covid suppression is likely to respond strongly to Omicron, which Chinese vaccines may do little to combat. The New Year celebration in February is likely to be a bust. It’s also unclear whether China has fended off financial contagion from the construction sector.

    So, bad news that Chinese output may have contrected in Q3, because the news has not improved so far in Q4 and doesn’t look great for Q1 2022. Weakness, starting from a weak base.

    1. macroduck

      China is not the only large economy showing signs of slowing. IHS puts Q4 Eurozone GDP growth at 0.5% (2.0% annualized), down from 2.2% in Q3 (9.1% annualized): https://ihsmarkit.com/research-analysis/faster-eurozone-economic-upturn-marred-by-record-inflationary-pressures-and-covid19-worries-Nov21.html

      The U.S. is doing better for now in forecasts and nowcasts, but this is Covid forecasting, so should be take with a shaker of salt. ( Jimmy Buffet is one of our great economic thinkers.) Atlanta Fed nowcast is 7.2% (annualized) for Q4, against a median forecast of something like 5.8%: https://www.atlantafed.org/cqer/research/gdpnow?panel=3. That’s up from 2.1% in Q3.

      Given the divergence between regions quarter to quarter, it’s worth asking how much of the latest swing reflects idiosyncrasies in individual economies and how much reflects general stress from Covid. China’ property sector troubles are idiosyncratic to China, but with strong contagion risk. Germany is particularly troubling right now, with a reacceleration in growth cut short by Covid in December. Germany’s troubles spill over to Europe generally, with most of Europe is suffering from a rapid rise in Covid infections on top of that.

      The U.S. growth nowcast was marked down sharply this week on weaker than expected consumption data. It’s not hard to image ways in which supply problems, reduced government transfers to households with a high marginal propensity to shop, full closets in middle-class households and Omicron could gang up to further suppress consumer spending in December and beyond. (Take that, supply bottlenecks!)

      China certainly seems to have the most immediate risk of financial contagion, and that’s really worrying. The demise of “Omicron ain’t so bad” is worrying for everybody.

      I don’t have a good handle on near-term outlooks for Latin America, Africa or Asia outside of China. I understand Brazil is in recession due partly to drought. IHS numbers for Mexico are slightly contractionary. South Korea and Japan seem to be doing better than most, which may help buffet the effect on other regional economies of China’s slowdown. South Africa isn’t growing, but there’s nothing new about that. Egypt is slowing.

      Is this all too pessimistic?

      1. Moses Herzog

        @ macroduck
        My immediate thought is, let’s say Omicron causes a lower rate of deaths, I suspect it will. But “let’s say” (imagine) people are just as apt to get the booster as they were to get fully vaccinated (or you can even “lower the bar” and say as apt to get booster as they were just the first shot). You’re still going to have large numbers of people hospitalized and probably unable to work for say 7–21 days (that’s obviously on the low end and pretty optimistic). I don’t see how that doesn’t take a pretty serious economic bite out of America’s ankles. And this is probably connected with recent (post December 1) oil prices. You’re pretty good at sourcing, so I can’t give you helpful advice there, just keeping going back to those same sources or “hitting the refresh button” on the updates, Very late into the night “The Guardian” has a live updates Business blog which is very helpful on both Europe and Britain (at least on weekdays) and Bloomberg sometimes broadcasts live on youtube or certainly had a lot of recent uploads on YT I find helpful sometimes.

    2. pgl

      “The New Year celebration in February is likely to be a bust.”

      Alas the same might be said about the Times Square celebration in a couple of weeks. Not that any real New Yorker ever goes. But damn – no Broadway or the Rockettes?

      1. Moses Herzog

        @ pgl
        I gotta random question for our resident New Yorker. Do you or have you ever used these “rapid grocery delivery services”, such as “Buyk” “JOKR” “Gorillas” “1520” “Fridge No More” and what was your impression of them?? Some people were conjecturing they may start to take up major marketshare, and I was curious if you used them. Or even knew people in NYC who had.

        1. Moses Herzog

          Damn, the never-ending chatterboxes have been silenced by one of my questions searching for knowledge once again……… I’m starting to think I have “special powers” to silence fire engine hoses sourced from the Atlantic Ocean with one question. Let’s trial this product on donald trump

    3. macroduck

      Speaking of China’s dishonesty…

      The chart offered here of the QCAT vs GDP does not show the complete history of the two series. The link to the SF Fed site provides a chart which covers a longer period , and that chart shows a fascinating oddity. The excessive smoothness of China’s GDP series began in 2013. Put bluntly, China became (more?) dishonest about data between 2012 and 2013.

      I kinda think something else happened in the 2012-2013 period that might explain a sudden increase in official lying, but I can’t quite remember what it was.

      Moses? Help me out? Can you think of any notable changes in China around that time?

      1. Moses Herzog

        I guess the obvious answer (I’m not trying to be a smart-aleck here) would be Xi Jinping taking over around that time. Some sites declare him leader around 2012 and others say around March 2013. The reality is it was probably decided on some UNofficial date in Beidaihe “beach resort”. I think Barkley Rosser claimed on this site one time that he “stealth-hosts” these events at Beidaihe under his CIA code name Günther Bachmann. But Hu Jintao (as far as things go for Chinese bureaucrats) struck me as more honest than Xi. So I wouldn’t be surprised at all if there was more lying post-Hu Jintao, there was also a major crackdown on internet usage in China under Xi, which arguably “started” under Hu Jintao, but became much more severe under Xi.

          1. Moses Herzog

            Chinese mainland citizens also have a humor about their leaders. They used to call Jiang Zemin “grandma” because of his matronly looking face. And the joke (which apparently he takes personally) on Xi Jinping is that he is “Winnie the Pooh”. And to show what a poor sport old Xi is, they have basically banned the image and name of Winnie the Pooh on the Chinese internet. Of course, it’s not super hard for Chinese people to come up with alternate names for Winnie the Pooh or “throw shade” on Xi. Even small things like that can be dangerous because it’s not hard to trace over there. But some will kind of chip off pieces around the edges there.

    1. ltr

      https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/weo-database/2021/October/weo-report?c=924,134,532,534,536,158,546,922,111,&s=PPPGDP,&sy=2007&ey=2021&ssm=0&scsm=1&scc=0&ssd=1&ssc=0&sic=0&sort=country&ds=.&br=1

      October 15, 2021

      Gross Domestic Product based on purchasing-power-parity (PPP) valuation * for China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macao, Russia and United States, 2007-2021

      2020

      China   ( 24,672)
      Germany   ( 4,537)
      India   ( 8,975)
      Indonesia   ( 3,302)
      Japan   ( 5,312)
      Russia   ( 4,100)
      United States   ( 20,894)

      * Data are expressed in US dollars adjusted for purchasing power parities (PPPs), which provide a means of comparing spending between countries on a common base. PPPs are the rates of currency conversion that equalise the cost of a given “basket” of goods and services in different countries.

    2. ltr

      https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/weo-database/2021/October/weo-report?c=924,134,532,534,536,158,546,922,111,&s=PPPGDP,&sy=2007&ey=2021&ssm=0&scsm=1&scc=0&ssd=1&ssc=0&sic=0&sort=country&ds=.&br=1

      October 15, 2021

      Gross Domestic Product based on purchasing-power-parity (PPP) valuation * for China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macao, Russia and United States, 2007-2021

      2021

      China ( 27,608)
      Germany ( 4,843)
      India ( 10,181)
      Indonesia ( 3,530)
      Japan ( 5,634)
      Russia ( 4,447)
      United States ( 22,940)

      * Data are expressed in US dollars adjusted for purchasing power parities (PPPs), which provide a means of comparing spending between countries on a common base. PPPs are the rates of currency conversion that equalise the cost of a given “basket” of goods and services in different countries.

  3. ltr

    https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-12-17/Chinese-mainland-records-76-confirmed-COVID-19-cases-163GgDSE6M8/index.html

    December 17, 2021

    Chinese mainland reports 76 new COVID-19 cases

    The Chinese mainland recorded 76 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with 56 linked to local transmissions and 20 from overseas, data from the National Health Commission showed on Friday.

    A total of 23 new asymptomatic cases were also recorded, and 471 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation.

    Confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland now total 100,076, with the death toll unchanged since January at 4,636.

    Chinese mainland new locally transmitted cases

    https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-12-17/Chinese-mainland-records-76-confirmed-COVID-19-cases-163GgDSE6M8/img/ec781c6873c74e258514f366f04a72e5/ec781c6873c74e258514f366f04a72e5.jpeg

    Chinese mainland new imported cases

    https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-12-17/Chinese-mainland-records-76-confirmed-COVID-19-cases-163GgDSE6M8/img/b66785befe65420b83ed88be69786683/b66785befe65420b83ed88be69786683.jpeg

    Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases

    https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-12-17/Chinese-mainland-records-76-confirmed-COVID-19-cases-163GgDSE6M8/img/8d592c64f83645b0b14ec7123c79306a/8d592c64f83645b0b14ec7123c79306a.jpeg

    1. ltr

      http://www.news.cn/english/2021-12/17/c_1310378716.htm

      December 17, 2021

      Over 2.65 bln COVID-19 vaccine doses administered on Chinese mainland

      BEIJING — More than 2.65 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered on the Chinese mainland as of Thursday, data from the National Health Commission showed Friday.

      [ Chinese coronavirus vaccine yearly production capacity is more than 5 billion doses. Along with over 2.65 billion doses of Chinese vaccines administered domestically, more than 1.85 billion doses have already been distributed to more than 120 countries internationally. Nineteen countries are now producing Chinese vaccines from delivered raw materials. ]

        1. Moses Herzog

          I know some people here will think less of me for saying this and say I’m shallow or don’t have good priorities. But I can’t help it, this story makes me laugh when I think of Noth verbally “defending” Sarah Jessica Parker from Kim Cattrall. You may remember after Parker’s husband killed two people with his rented BMW, he was fined $175 and later became an ambassador for Honda Motors in a Super Bowl advert. Obviously anyone else would have received the same punishment. Wait……

          1. pgl

            You seem to be saying famous guys have the right to sexually abuse women. Gee – you must have been on the defense team for Bill Cosby.

  4. rsm

    Are you all doing the economic equivalent of trying to measure intelligence by using an elastic tape measure to get the head’s circumference? Are your measurements very noisy, and are you not really measuring intelligence anyway?

  5. Barkley Rosser

    BTW, for the record, this is a very serious post. I am in fact a major expert on the Chinese economy, but I lack further information to comment substantively on this. It is not discussed in what Menzie posted, but to the extent this highly negative forecast about PRC growth will come true, my guess is that the unreported leading factor, along with pandemic restrictions, is a collapse of the real estate sector, with many having noted in recent months that this could become a problem.

    Indeed, although it was buried deep in the back pages of the few newspapers even paying attention, Evergrande did recently formally go bankrupt, the huge firm whose collapse was supposed to be carefully managed by the PBOC. Well, maybe all that is not going quite so well. Even mainstream reporters had it that there would be a substantial decline of the real estate sector falling out of the problems of that firm. But there were major disagreements about the significance of it all for PRC GDp growth. I saw some estimates having it that this would only amount to about one or two percent decline on the GDP growth rate. But then others argued that real estate construction was more important than that.

    Anyway, whether or not the possible forecasts in this “interesting” (as Steven Kopits called it) post are true or not, which I have no idea whether they are or not, if indeed this is true, then, well, global GDP growth and also US GDP growth will slow considerably, and the recently announced contractionary policy of the US Fed, may have to be reconsidered sooner than they expected.

    1. Steven Kopits

      I meant ‘interesting’ in two senses. First, I thought it was a meaningful contribution to the discussion and I was glad that Menzie gave it a hearing. I have presented to John Fernald (with Jim Hamilton, actually), albeit about a decade ago. John is really, really smart. Technically very sound. If smartest guy in the room were still a legitimate game, he would be in the mix.

      I thought it also interesting to contemplate China’s GDP going negative, both from an economic and political perspective. Real estate crashes are often accompanied by recessions, so a possible downturn is certainly something to consider.

      Second, I have contended that China’s politics are not in fact stable, and a downturn opens the door to political change. I encourage readers to look up videos of China on YouTube. What you will find — or I have found — is a country that has become middle class. Look at people in the streets, at universities, at train stations, and they could be in Korea, Japan or Taiwan. And all of those are democracies. Historically, once a country becomes middle class, democracy is not far behind.

      It is time for China to vote and its citizens to decide for themselves the future of the country. That’s the other sense in which I used ‘interesting’.

      1. Moses Herzog

        @ “Princeton”Kopits
        You say some of the most asinine things with the impression that you have stated something “deep”. Where would you rank Russia on per capita income/quality of life compared to China?? Have you taken a look at “recent events” in Hong Kong and average per capita income compared to the rest of China?? How about Kuwait’s par capita income?? Damn man!!!! You amaze, you literally AMAZE with the stupidity. You know how hard it is to “shock” me with how dumb a random human can be at this stage of my life?!?!?!?!~~and yet you still manage to do it. You still manage to flabbergast me with your unbelievably dumb brain. Did any of your former college Poli-Sci profs do self-harm behaviors and/or “cutting” when they read what you write? For the love of God do not show them this stuff you write here.

        1. Steven Kopits

          I have written about all this, here. https://www.princetonpolicy.com/ppa-blog/2018/4/8/chinas-governance-options

          The oil autocracies are exceptions to the rule, but remember, these would be poor countries without oil exports, which can be both centralized in the government and run by a relatively small cadre. Oil revenues do not make a country middle class in mentality or social expectations.

          As for Russia, well, I said I was a Sinophile, not a Russophile. Having lived a long time in Hungary and had a family that lost everything to Soviet Russia, I am not a great fan of Russian governance culture. I understand Russians, and frankly, I have a soft spot for them, but I am not sentimental about Russian social development or governance structures. Russia has been a pain in the ass to the west for centuries, and I expect it will be for centuries more. I’d add that Russia is also heavily a resource dependent country. Or to quote John McCain: “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.”

          I hold the Chinese in high regard. Incredible work ethic, commitment to education and family, entrepreneurship, non-violent, in my experience, good people and good company. They are ready for democracy in a way Russia is not. (Sorry, Russia.)

          China is important in a way the Russians are not. Under Xi, China can kill all of us and send the globe back into the dark ages. So governance in China is of greater concern to me than governance in Russia. I am not even convinced that Putin is not the best we could expect in Russia for the time being. From my perspective, Russia is an on-going management problem for the US and western governments.

          But Xi? Wrong guy. China needs a Washington, not a Mao, as I have written before.

          1. pgl

            “Governance form and GDP per capita are closely correlated. Very few poor countries can sustain democracy, and virtually no rich countries can exist without it.”

            Now there is a hypothesis fit for some right wing think tank. The US started a democracy some 245 years ago when income per capita was quite low. But it looks like Trump will steer this country towards a dictatorship with him on top. Now are you saying the US is a poor nation today?

            Yes I read the rest of your usual nonsense. Color me unconvinced.

          2. pgl

            “Steven Kopits
            December 19, 2021 at 3:20 pm
            And yet you have nothing to add on the topic.”

            The US is a clear exception to your unfounded hypothesis adds nothing? Come on Steve – try defending your intellectual garbage as opposed to acting like the spoiled kid in the sand box.

    1. CoRev

      Useful comparison? Yet, in the UK the latest Covid death numbers ore 4 out of 5 occurring in the vaccinated versus unvaccinated cohorts. (Readily available so look it up.) No one says that vaccinations have not lowered the death rates for the periods of their provided immunities. These findings reinforce the case that age, wight and medical condition co-morbities may still out weigh immunities provided by vaccines.

      There are also a growing number of studies showing that natural immunities may be stronger or longer lasting than the those provided by the vaccines. Further, there is added attention to providing treatment versus prevention. Improved treatment seems to decrease the number of deaths and hospitalizations in amounts similar to those available through vaccinations.

        1. rsm

          What is the opportunity cost of my brother’s indoctrination by economists at Berkeley during the height of Reaganomics? Would he have killed himself at 49, because he believed their lies about materialism being the only path to happiness?

          Censor, should thou censor thyself?

          1. Menzie Chinn Post author

            rsm: I am sorry for your loss. I am also angry that Reagan and his economic team spread such nostrums, that deceived many. I do not see how the issue of standard errors weighs on the issue, however. Much more important was the assertion of supply side economics a la Laffer does not involve statistics per se (they generally ignored data), but rather a wilfull ignorance of extant economic research.

          2. pgl

            What ‘economists at Berkeley’ were fans of Reagan’s economic policies? The macroeconomists I know called out the insanity of those policies.

          3. pgl

            “Censor, should thou censor thyself?”

            Did you flunk preK reading? Menzie was calling out CoRev for his lies about COVID-19 – not economic issues. Come on dude – try to at least understand a thread before going off like that.

        2. ltr

          The latest actual data:

          https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsinvolvingcovid19byvaccinationstatusengland/deathsoccurringbetween2januaryand24september2021

          November 1, 2021

          Deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status, England: deaths occurring between 2 January and 24 September 2021
          Weekly age-standardised mortality rates and age-specific rates for deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status; deaths occurring between 2 January and 24 September 2021 in England.

          Between 2 January and 24 September 2021, the age-adjusted risk of deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) was 32 times greater in unvaccinated people than in fully vaccinated individuals….

          1. pgl

            “Between 2 January and 24 September 2021, the age-adjusted risk of deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) was 32 times greater in unvaccinated people than in fully vaccinated individuals”

            Now that is how one presents data if one is interested in being honest. Of course CoRev’s only interest is peddling the lies of the MAGA crowd.

          2. CoRev

            PGL, again having reading comprehension problems makes another ludicrous mistake. “Between 2 January and 24 September 2021, the age-adjusted risk of deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) was 32 times greater in unvaccinated people than in fully vaccinated individuals”

            Do you not realize risk of deaths is not the same as actual deaths? When did the UK DHE join the MAGA crowd?

          3. ltr

            Just published:

            https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsinvolvingcovid19byvaccinationstatusengland/deathsoccurringbetween1januaryand31october2021

            December 20, 2021

            Deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status, England: deaths occurring between 1 January and 31 October 2021

            Age-standardised and age-specific mortality rates for deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status; deaths occurring between 1 January and 31 October 2021 in England.

            The age-adjusted risk of deaths involving COVID-19 for people who had received a second dose at least 21 days ago compared with unvaccinated individuals varied from 99% lower (in February) to 78% lower (in October)…

      1. pgl

        “Yet, in the UK the latest Covid death numbers ore 4 out of 5 occurring in the vaccinated versus unvaccinated cohorts. (Readily available so look it up.)”

        Given your long history of lying – it might have been nice had you told us your allegedly reliable source. Oh wait – had you, we would have checked it out. You are always a transparent fraud.

        1. CoRev

          PGL, if Menzie let’s this comment thorough, you might note that the reference to Berenson was Menzie’s not mine. Thanks for the giggles.

          1. Menzie Chinn Post author

            CoRev: I’m not sure what you are trying to get at; the PolitiFact article posted critiques Berenson’s article, which seems to be an article consistent with what you were asserting. I was guessing, but you should feel free to provide the link to the point you were making. Then we can accurately dissect your assertion.

            I look forward to your response.

          2. pgl

            You must have missed my comment asking you to provide a link to your alleged source. Yes CoRev – I’m calling you out as liar. And you have done nothing to suggest otherwise.

          3. CoRev

            Menzie, this is your problem: ” Berenson’s article, which seems to be an article consistent with what you were asserting. I was guessing, but you should feel free to provide the link to the point you were making. Then we can accurately dissect your assertion. ” Biased guessing nased upon emotion is misinformation. I did provide a link in my rebuttal to your threatening and misinformed comment. Where is it?

          4. CoRev

            Menzie says: “I look forward to your response.”

            I did respond and then he chose to retreat from the field. I take that as an acceptance.

        2. CoRev

          Menzie, read your won article! It claims: “”Vaccinated English adults under 60 are dying at twice the rate of unvaccinated people the same age” was the headline on his blog post, which cites a Nov. 1 data release from the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics.

          “I don’t know how to explain this other than vaccine-caused mortality,”

          My claims was that: ” Yet, in the UK the latest Covid death numbers ore (sic are) 4 out of 5 occurring in the vaccinated versus unvaccinated cohorts. (Readily available so look it up.) No one says that vaccinations have not lowered the death rates for the periods of their provided immunities. These findings reinforce the case that age, wight and medical condition co-morbities may still out weigh immunities provided by vaccines.”

          To be clear in the UK the actual number of deaths are higher in the vaccinated versus unvaccinated cohorts. That is not a rate statement, but lists the basic numbers. Numbers which BTW, have been in evidence since the early Summer. “More vaccinated people are dying of COVID than unvaccinated people, according to a recent report from Public Health England (PHE). The report shows that 163 of the 257 people (63.4%) who died of the delta variant within 28 days of a positive COVID test between February 1 and June 21, had received at least one dose of the vaccine. At first glance, this may seem alarming, but it is exactly as would be expected.https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-covid-deaths-uk-vaccinated.html Expected in a heavily vaccinated populace where the vaccines are imperfect, and do not stop ALL deaths.

          Rates are based upon the denominator and my use of DHE data was a simple numerical balance (a numerator in a rate calculation) and not a rate.

          I’ll repeat my clarifying statement in my claim: “These findings reinforce the case that age, wight and medical condition co-morbities may still out weigh immunities provided by vaccines.”

          I am surprised by the misinformation provided re: rates versus the basic information provided by the DHE. 63.4% is expected unless the vaccines are perfect and even you folks can not say that, although many here seem to think they are. I DID NOT PROVIDE A RATE COMMENT.

          I deliberately chose not to provide URLs, since the data were very clear and consistent for months. A little unbiased searching would have so shown.

          I look forward to your apology for misreading my comment and then threatening banning because of this misread.

          1. pgl

            First you claim “I did provide a link in my rebuttal to your threatening and misinformed comment. Where is it?”

            It was YOUR responsibility to provide a link to your first dishonest claim not Menzie’s. But this sentence of yours is a LIE as you still have not provided a link.

            As far as the rest of your rant – you are blatantly misrepresenting the data. Come on troll – why waste everyone’s time here as we all know you are a lying troll. After all – Tucker Carlson might actually pay you for spreading this garbage on his show.

          2. pgl

            We finally see a link provided by CoRev. The headline should have told this troll that his spin on this issue was highly misleading. But let’s take two early paragraphs that make the point CoRev tries to dance around:

            “Here’s a simple thought experiment: imagine everyone is now fully vaccinated with COVID vaccines—which are excellent but can’t save all lives. Some people who get infected with COVID will still die. All of these people will be fully vaccinated—100%. That doesn’t mean vaccines aren’t effective at reducing death. The risk of dying from COVID doubles roughly every seven years older a patient is. The 35-year difference between a 35-year-old and a 70-year-old means the risk of death between the two patients has doubled five times—equivalently it has increased by a factor of 32. An unvaccinated 70-year-old might be 32 times more likely to die of COVID than an unvaccinated 35-year-old. This dramatic variation of the risk profile with age means that even excellent vaccines don’t reduce the risk of death for older people to below the risk for some younger demographics.”

            Nicely put but painting a very different picture from the intellectual garbage routinely spews here. I guess we now know what CoRev is so reluctant to provide links to reliable sources.

          3. pgl

            CoRev
            December 20, 2021 at 7:07 am

            This is followed by some of the pathetic little whining I have ever seen. You make a dishonest claim from some unnamed source you cannot be bothered to identify. So our host figures out the lying source you copied and pasted from and you blame him for your incompetence? Seriously?

            Yea – you finally provided a link to what turned out to be a good report. But of course the little lying troll you are – you misrepresent what this link said. And then demand an apology?

            Why not go back to the sand box and cry to the little babies there that we adults are so mean to you.

          4. pgl

            More information CoRev hopes no one reads:

            being double vaccinated reduces the risk of being hospitalized with the now-dominant delta variant by around 96%. Even conservatively assuming the vaccines are no more effective at preventing death than hospitalization (actually they are likely to be more effective at preventing death) this means the risk of death for double vaccinated people has been cut to less than one-twentieth of the value for unvaccinated people with the same underlying risk profile.

            However, the 20-fold decrease in risk afforded by the vaccine isn’t enough to offset the 32-fold increase in underlying risk of death of an 70-year-old over a 35-year-old. Given the same risk of infection, we would still expect to see more double-vaccinated 70-year-olds die from COVID than unvaccinated 35-year-olds.

          5. CoRev

            PGL, First you claim “I did provide a link in my rebuttal to your threatening and misinformed comment. Where is it?”

            Ask Menzie.

          6. CoRev

            Jeebus, PGL, how dense are you? You finally quote from the reference and it makes the point I have repeatedly made for weeks now. The points in your quote: “1)COVID vaccines—which are excellent but can’t save all lives. 2)Some people who get infected with COVID will still die. All of these people will be fully vaccinated—100%. That doesn’t mean vaccines aren’t effective at reducing death. 3)The risk of dying from COVID doubles roughly every seven years older a patient is. The 35-year difference between a 35-year-old and a 70-year-old means the risk of death between the two patients has doubled five times—equivalently it has increased by a factor of 32. An unvaccinated 70-year-old might be 32 times more likely to die of COVID than an unvaccinated 35-year-old. 4)This dramatic variation of the risk profile with age means that even excellent vaccines don’t reduce the risk of death for older people to below the risk for some younger demographics.”

            And that’s what the DHE numbers say.

    2. paddy kivlin

      iconography.

      for the only person i can put a face to that has succumbed to covid the vaccines did nothing. subject was over 70, fully vaxxed and had serious health problems.

      I find is fantastic that healthy people younger than sixty who already have a 99.7% survival rate can enjoy a 4000% increase in ‘safety’ from covid!!

      it is almost as if we do not want any one to consider risk reward re the vaxx……

      idk where drum is coming from!

        1. paddy kivlin

          https://coronavirusbellcurve.com/

          scroll down to ‘us deaths and survival rates’. note the site stopped tracking in oct 2021. they may be back soon.

          another statistic i do not have current reference but seems within a decent estimate: 65 no co-morbidty and i will not boost, the risks too great. i do vit d and zinc.

          i also accept that hope-simpson seasonality applies to covid, with a small error range.

          1. pgl

            I did notice it is not as up to date as the header claims.

            I also noticed a strange chart that claims to track vaccine deaths by vaccine type. It is unsourced. It also appears to be spreading the lie that the COVID-19 vaccine is killing people. I’m sorry but this is the kind of disinformation CoRev was warned about. Unless you have a different interpretation of that strange chart.

          2. Moses Herzog

            There are probably some better websites out there, but I always thought this one was a little “underrated”. Worth a perusal and you can compare it to some of the better websites like John Hopkins etc and one Menzie has mentioned connected to Washington State University (I think??). I doubt if the current numbers are very different.
            https://ncov2019.live/data

          3. CoRev

            PGL, your demonstrating your reading comprehension even again. ” I’m sorry but this is the kind of disinformation CoRev was warned about. Unless you have a different interpretation of that strange chart.” You are lying that the Berenson link was from my comment.

            This was the Menzie’s link not mine. My links are citing the DHE data. You have yet to describe my lies. To do so would require research for which we have a long history of your lazy failure to do such.

  6. Steve

    Math question: how do you deseasonalize with a geometric ratio to a moving average? Chinn (2021) references that approach, but comments are closed for that post. I’m a huge fan of getting seasonality indexes via ratio-to-moving-average since it’s so easy to implement in a spreadsheet, but google was not helpful regarding how one does so as a geometric ratio. Thanks!

  7. David O'Rear

    Q-Q GDP growth figures depend on solid, reliable, consistent, seasonally adjusted underlying data.
    China doesn’t provide that to the public, and probably doesn’t have it available for internal use.
    The trends are too smooth, and the whole is smaller than the sum of the parts.

    Alternative measures (except satellite light measures, hardly a robust data set) depend on numbers from the same National Bureau of Statistics. When one stirs up garbage, the results stink.

    In theory, the article’s index is like the Chicago Fed National Activity Index, which is where the similarity ends. In practice, it is as solid as a plate of warm Jello.
    I like that they focus on fluctuations, rather than values, and would prefer more work in that direction.

    According to the official data, the increase in household consumption comprise an average of 38% of the rise in GDP in the 15 years prior to the pandemic. Urban retail sales, if one believes the data, rose 13.8% in the first 11 months of this year, rural sales by 13.3%. So, do the math and figure out (all else being equal) how far household consumption would have to fall to bring down the entirety of GDP.

    Naturally, all else isn’t equal, but we will then at least have a scale to work with.

  8. Bernard Leikind

    I enjoy reading this blog because Professors Chinn and Hamilton share their knowledge with us, the curious public. I especially like when Prof. Chinn does his own data analysis right before our eyes, and when Prof. Hamilton lays out the internal works of oil markets. Some of the regular commenters appear informed, but it is hard to assess this without knowing who they are.
    The comments would be much more helpful and more pleasant to read, if the regulars would stick to economics and refrain from insulting one another. Let readers decide whose remarks about economics are valuable or not.
    I teach physics at the U of Tampa. I am a lifelong amateur in economics and history. I have occasionally asked Prof. Chinn or Prof. Hamilton questions as Left Coast Bernard, as I have relocated from San Diego to Tampa.

    1. Moses Herzog

      Welcome back Marina Club Bernie. Econbrowser has strict condo neighborhood rules, so watch it!!!! No pick-up trucks in the driveway and if you have to show your teenage children in public, make sure they are wearing a horse bridle at all times.

  9. ltr

    http://www.news.cn/english/2021-12/16/c_1310376027.htm

    December 16, 2021

    China to grant zero-tariff treatment for least-developed countries

    BEIJING — China will grant zero-tariff treatment on 98 percent of taxable items originating in the least-developed countries, according to a statement released by the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council on Wednesday.

    Agricultural products such as peanut oil and chemicals such as polythene will be incorporated into the scope of zero-tariff treatment.

    The move will help to further facilitate China’s imports from related African countries, and advance the building of a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future, and share market opportunities with least-developed countries, the commission said.

  10. ltr

    China will enter the RCEP * free trade era along with the countries of ASEAN ** at the beginning of January. This is a free trade bloc significantly larger than the Euro Area. Also, enhanced trade will begin with countries ranging from Egypt to Russia. Then there are the increasing important Belt and Road trade relations, which include every country in Africa other than Eswatini (Swaziland).

    * RCEP – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – plus Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea

    ** ASEAN – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam

  11. ltr

    https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-12-19/Chinese-mainland-records-83-confirmed-COVID-19-cases-1671Ae9CD16/index.html

    December 19, 2021

    Chinese mainland reports 83 new COVID-19 cases

    The Chinese mainland recorded 83 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Saturday, with 44 linked to local transmissions and 39 from overseas, data from the National Health Commission showed on Sunday.

    A total of 41 new asymptomatic cases were also recorded, and 496 asymptomatic patients remain under medical observation.

    Confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland now total 100,284, with the death toll remaining unchanged at 4,636 since January.

    Chinese mainland new locally transmitted cases

    https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-12-19/Chinese-mainland-records-83-confirmed-COVID-19-cases-1671Ae9CD16/img/ffd4bb59967044c7bae6e7675e5de5e9/ffd4bb59967044c7bae6e7675e5de5e9.jpeg

    Chinese mainland new imported cases

    https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-12-19/Chinese-mainland-records-83-confirmed-COVID-19-cases-1671Ae9CD16/img/09ddaf838c1c4d6db4cd5d14297536de/09ddaf838c1c4d6db4cd5d14297536de.jpeg

    Chinese mainland new asymptomatic cases

    https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-12-19/Chinese-mainland-records-83-confirmed-COVID-19-cases-1671Ae9CD16/img/2efe826d2a0647c0a9feacf245557a0e/2efe826d2a0647c0a9feacf245557a0e.jpeg

  12. ltr

    http://www.news.cn/english/2021-12/19/c_1310382164.htm

    December 19, 2021

    Over 2.67 bln COVID-19 vaccine doses administered on Chinese mainland

    BEIJING — More than 2.67 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered on the Chinese mainland as of Saturday, data from the National Health Commission showed Sunday.

    [ Chinese coronavirus vaccine yearly production capacity is more than 5 billion doses. Along with over 2.67 billion doses of Chinese vaccines administered domestically, more than 1.85 billion doses have already been distributed to more than 120 countries internationally. Nineteen countries are now producing Chinese vaccines from delivered raw materials. ]

  13. ltr

    http://www.news.cn/english/2021-12/16/c_1310376870.htm

    December 16, 2021

    China’s FDI inflow up 15.9 pct in first 11 months

    BEIJING — Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Chinese mainland, in actual use, rose 15.9 percent year on year to 1.04 trillion yuan, or 157.2 billion U.S. dollars, in the first 11 months of the year, the Ministry of Commerce said Thursday.

    During the Jan.-Nov. period, FDI into the service sector increased 17 percent year on year, while high-tech industries saw FDI inflow jump 19.3 percent, data from the ministry showed.

    Foreign investments from countries along the Belt and Road as well as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations into the Chinese mainland jumped 24.7 percent and 23.7 percent, respectively.

    1. ltr

      http://www.news.cn/english/2021-12/07/c_1310356982.htm

      December 7, 2021

      China’s foreign trade sustains resilience, upward momentum

      BEIJING — China’s foreign trade maintained growth momentum in the first 11 months of the year amid signs of global economic recovery and resilient demand.

      During the Jan.-Nov. period, total imports and exports of the country expanded 22 percent year on year to 35.39 trillion yuan (5.55 trillion U.S. dollars), official data showed Tuesday.

      The figure, already surpassing the 32.16-trillion-yuan total for all of 2020, marked a 24-percent increase from the pre-epidemic level in 2019, according to the General Administration of Customs.

      Both exports and imports continued double-digit growth in the first 11 months of the year, surging 21.8 percent and 22.2 percent from a year earlier, respectively….

  14. ltr

    https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/weo-database/2021/October/weo-report?c=924,134,534,158,111,&s=NGDP_RPCH,&sy=2007&ey=2021&ssm=0&scsm=1&scc=0&ssd=1&ssc=0&sic=0&sort=country&ds=.&br=1

    October 15, 2021

    Gross Domestic Product for China, Germany, India, Japan and United States at constant prices, 2007-2021

    2020

    China ( 2.3)
    Germany ( – 4.6)
    India ( – 7.3)
    Japan ( – 4.6)
    United States ( – 3.4)

    2021

    China ( 8.0)
    Germany ( 3.1)
    India ( 9.5)
    Japan ( 2.4)
    United States ( 6.0)

    * Percent change

    1. ltr

      https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/weo-database/2021/October/weo-report?c=223,132,536,922,112,&s=NGDP_RPCH,&sy=2007&ey=2021&ssm=0&scsm=1&scc=0&ssd=1&ssc=0&sic=0&sort=country&ds=.&br=1

      October 15, 2021

      Gross Domestic Product for Brazil. France, Indonesia, Russia and United Kingdom at constant prices, 2007-2021

      2020

      Brazil ( – 4.1)
      France ( – 8.0)
      Indonesia ( – 2.1)
      Russia ( – 3.0)
      United Kingdom ( – 9.8)

      2021

      Brazil ( 5.2)
      France ( 6.3)
      Indonesia ( 3.2)
      Russia ( 4.7)
      United Kingdom ( 6.8)

      * Percent change

  15. ltr

    Yet, in the UK the latest Covid death numbers ore 4 out of 5 occurring in the vaccinated versus unvaccinated cohorts. (Readily available so look it up.)

    [ The above comment happens to be untrue and seemingly purposely misleading.

    Here is the latest actual data:

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsinvolvingcovid19byvaccinationstatusengland/deathsoccurringbetween2januaryand24september2021

    November 1, 2021

    Deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status, England
    Deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status, England: deaths occurring between 2 January and 24 September 2021
    Weekly age-standardised mortality rates and age-specific rates for deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status; deaths occurring between 2 January and 24 September 2021 in England.

    Between 2 January and 24 September 2021, the age-adjusted risk of deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) was 32 times greater in unvaccinated people than in fully vaccinated individuals…. ]

    1. ltr

      Just published:

      https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsinvolvingcovid19byvaccinationstatusengland/deathsoccurringbetween1januaryand31october2021

      December 20, 2021

      Deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status, England: deaths occurring between 1 January and 31 October 2021

      Age-standardised and age-specific mortality rates for deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status; deaths occurring between 1 January and 31 October 2021 in England.

      1. Main points

      The monthly age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) for deaths involving COVID-19 have been consistently lower for people who had received a second dose at least 21 days ago, compared with unvaccinated people. This is the case for all age groups.

      The age-adjusted risk of deaths involving COVID-19 for people who had received a second dose at least 21 days ago compared with unvaccinated individuals varied from 99% lower (in February) to 78% lower (in October); this could be caused by various factors, such as changes in the composition of the group, changes in background COVID-19 infection rates, changing levels of immunity from prior infection, changing dominant variants, seasonal changes in mortality rates and vaccine waning….

      1. ltr

        Just published, meticulous and completely clear:

        https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsinvolvingcovid19byvaccinationstatusengland/deathsoccurringbetween1januaryand31october2021

        December 20, 2021

        Deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status, England: deaths occurring between 1 January and 31 October 2021

        Age-standardised and age-specific mortality rates for deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status; deaths occurring between 1 January and 31 October 2021 in England.

        Over the whole period (1 January to 31 October 2021), the age-adjusted risk of deaths involving COVID-19 was 96% lower in people who had received a second dose at least 21 days ago compared with unvaccinated people….

  16. macroduck

    PBOC has cut its one-year lending rate by 50 bps to 3.8%, according the news services. The English version of the PBOC website does not confirm the cut, but it doesn’t have anything about today’s operations yet. First cut in a year and eight months.

    1. Moses Herzog

      Wouldn’t that just be 5 basis points?? Still very interesting, when added to the recent change in RRR. Nice heads up.

        1. pgl

          The first I heard the term “basis points” was a presentation by perhaps the most arrogant finance professor on the campus where I held my first position. After he sneered down his inflated nose at the rest of us one time too many, I managed to sneak in a question that basically asked him if he did not know how to do decimal points. As in we cannot write 0.05% as opposed to saying 5 basis points? Now his first reaction was to dismiss me as some your upstart but we did eventually co-author a paper.

          I have to admit financial types have too many weird ways of saying simple things. Like gearing ratios which is nothing more than the debt/asset ratio. Why not just say leverage? International tax lawyers are worse. As in the “quantum of the debt” which is simply the principle. Of course lawyers are known for using big terms as substitutes for basic thinking.

          1. Moses Herzog

            I have certain problems with acronyms~~as in I sometimes find them annoying. The conspiracy theorists will tell you that those with careers in high paying fields make up their own “lingo”/code language so as to keep it “inside the club”. I will leave it to the gentle reader to decide whether that is the case or not. As someone who is probably more in the finance camp than the economics camp as far as knowledge is concerned, I would argue both disciplines are equal “sinners” on this score.

            Consider that for whatever it’s worth coming from someone who mixed up storks with ostriches in his brain within the last 24 hours.

  17. David O'Rear

    In my circles, the secret codes that kept others out and ensured fat paychecks for those on the inside were writing in complete sentences (with proper spelling and punctuation), coherent paragraphs, and interesting longer pieces that survived the editor’s withering, “So what? Why am I spending time reading this?”

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