Interesting Times For China

China’s statistical bureau reported that industrial production for November grew 5.4% year-over-year according to Bloomberg.  The more interesting quote from the article is this:

Electricity output fell by 9.6 percent from a year earlier. Pig-iron production fell 16.2 percent. Raw steel declined 12.4 percent. Steel products tumbled 11 percent.

To echo the concerns of another CR reader, what is the break-even number for China due to the increase in urban population?  More critically, the drop in electrical output does not jive with the production numbers.  I would be very concerned.

The China number means nobody is buying here. Who finances our government? I just had this mental picture of the US economy flying through the air. It’s a 4 engine jet and we lost number 1 and 2 engines awhile back. Now number 3 just flamed out.

– nova, 2008-12-14

On a side note, it appears that North Korea has closed down both the northern and southern borders.  150,000 Chinese troops are now massed along the northern border, most likely as a prophylaxis against the collapse of the Kim regime.  Given North Korea’s precarious position and nuclear status, it is safe to assume that most players in the region are very interested in stabilizing the country and securing any loose buckets of instant sunshine.

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