GDP; Big Beijing meeting but not the Plenum; Marxist student activists "confess"
The 2018 GDP data are in focus today. There were no big surprises, as expected, but we can see clearly from the data and the official reactions that the economy is struggling.
Today marks the official start of the 40 day migration for Spring Festival. The Year of Pig starts February 5, it is worth remembering that given the massive disruptions from the holiday the economic data for January and February will be especially squirrelly.
The foreign media focus today may be on the GDP data release but I think something more important happened Monday. Xi chaired a study session of provincial and ministerial-level officials on “preventing and defusing major risks to ensure sustained and healthy economic development and social stability”.
So this was the big meeting many have been speculating about, but it was not the 4th Plenum but another meeting of provincial and ministerial level officials, as I suggested Friday it might be. The last seminar like this was at the end July 2017.