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Sometimes when you put together the Chinese data, it feels like you are drawing from multiple jigsaw puzzles, each with pieces missing.
China's official manufacturing PMI looks exposed in the context of the recent softening of regional trade flows. Korean 20-day export growth for June slowed to 29.4% year-over-year, from 53.0% in May.
China's activity data were disappointing for May, raising serious questions about a limbo period in the middle of the year.
We expect China's May activity data on Wednesday to lead to talk of slowdown, with the year- over-year growth rates for industrial production, retail sales, and the year-to-date, year-over-year rate for fixed assets all slowing.
Japan's GDP contracted in Q1, by 1.3% quarter- on-quarter, after the 2.8% increase in Q4.
Real sales growth was the big miss in the April activity data.
M1 growth dropped further in April, to 6.2% year- over-year, from March's already-low 7.1%.
The BoJ press conference focused on inflation, which is a red herring, in terms of the drivers of policy changes over the next couple of years.
Covering China is often like being a data detective, fitting together the pieces of the puzzle to try to work out what is going on.
We can safely look through the plunge in China's trade surplus in the last couple of months, to $13.8B in March, from $37.9B in February.
We've long held the view that the BoJ was looking for the right opportunity to ease the burden of its perma-accommodation on the financial sector.
Reader, beware. We will give you our conclusions upfront because this Monitor gets very technical, but China's January/February activity figures warrant that.
The focus in commentary so far, following the Government Work Report—GWR—has been on the GDP growth target, which was set at "above 6%", after no target was set last year due to uncertainty.
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