Creative GDPing. According to the detailed quarter-on-quarter data for China’s March-quarter GDP, there’s 0.5% of growth missing. The main report on Friday revealed the economy grew at an annual rate of 6.7% in the three months to March, which was about what the market had been looking at. A day or two later, quarter-on-quarter data emerged showing March quarter GDP grew 1.1% from the December quarter. Economists say that if you add together the quarter-on-quarter GDP figures for the four quarters to March you get an annual figure of 6.2% (that’s 1.8% in the June quarter, 1.8% in the September quarter, 1.5% in the December quarter and 1.1% in the March quarter). The 1.1% quarter-on-quarter figure for the March quarter is the weakest since the Chinese government started publishing this breakdown of GDP growth in 2012. Given that much of the first-quarter growth was driven by a sharp rise in bank lending and a jump in property investment and prices, you would have to wonder about the overall strength of the economy. -- Glenn Dyer

China steel claims rubbery. Meanwhile, don’t believe Chinese claims that crude steel production in the month of March of 70.65 million tonnes was a “record”. The claim received a lot of publicity via a Reuters report. If you go to the World Steel Association website and look at the archived figures for 2014, you find that in May of that year, China produced 71.16 million tonnes of crude steel. Reuters and other reports did not point out that out. Nor did they also make the point that in the three months to March, crude steel production fell 3.2% from a year ago to 192.01 million tonnes in the first quarter. That was also lower than the production in the March quarter of 2014 and was in fact the lowest since the 173.2 million tonnes produced in the first three months of 2012. But iron ore prices continues to rise and rise -- it was up 3.1% overnight Wednesday to a new 10-month high of US$64.77. (Goldman Sachs had forecast US$35 a tonne earlier in the year.) No wonder the Aussie dollar climbed back over 78 cents as well. -- Glenn Dyer