99 Problems - And a b*tch ain't one.
But one of them is definitely China.
Whenever I'm not shitposting about Chinese corporate espionage and IP theft, I'm usually ranting about their subversive, oftentimes clandestine efforts to undermine the formerly unipolar world order led by the United States.
Today, we won't talk about any of that.
The print is in. And usually, I don't believe a word of the data because it's usually too good to be true.
However, this time, it's so effing bad I have no choice but to believe that the Chinese are coming to Jesus.
Their economy is struggling. After battling the Zero C19 policy, demand is slumping, and the housing market is plummeting.
Retail sales were up slightly in July, but they missed the 4.9% expected growth number and came in at only 2.7%. Industrial output is the same story; analysts estimated 4.3% growth, but it missed that number by half a percentage point.
Home sales are down almost 30%. Property investment, once booming in the world's largest economy by population, is down 12.3%.
Steel output, a gauge of Chinese economic productivity in many sectors, is down 6.4%.
Finally, youth unemployment is at 19.9%. This is a record high for the PRC.
While we are over here rapidly ratcheting up interest rates and quantitative tightening at a strong clip, the Chinese Central Bank decided to lower two key interest rates.
In the Soviet Union, one of the tenets of their economy was planned growth. Economic power was political power, and regardless of whether the output was worthwhile or not, the good Soviet Comrades set specific milestones for every industry.
The Chinese economy is similar. The Chinese Communist Party relies on some semblance of central planning to keep the world's second-largest economy by GDP (if you believe the official stats) on pace and on target.
For the Chinese, economic power is also a source of global influence.
The Soviet Union entered into its darkest days as the wheels started to fall off its economy. Waste, corruption, meaningless output metrics. These symptoms were accentuated when the economy started to sputter.
I'm not sure that the same thing is happening in China. But this is an interesting time for Xi J as he attempts to seize even more power and influence at this fall's Communist Party National Congress. He has the helm at one of the most uncertain times for China's economy, and I'm not sure that there's a light at the end of the tunnel for the PRC just yet.