China's Imports up just 0.6% in 2014

China just released its December 2014 trade statistics.  After rapid growth from 2005 to 2013, the dollar value of Chinese imports was stagnant in 2014. 

Here is the rate of Chinese import growth:

From 2005-2013, Chinese imports grew at a 15% clip.

In 2014, Chinese imports grew at a 0.6% clip. 

Imports are one of the most accurate windows into the Chinese economy.  Unlike other statistics, they are not easily fudged, since each Chinese import appears as an export in another country's books.  In general, when aggregate demand within an economy grows, that demand includes increased demand for imports.  Based upon this statistic, Chinese economic growth has slowed from a sprint to a crawl.  

Part of the import slowdown in 2014 could simply be due to the lower prices that China has been paying, since July, for commodity imports, including oil.  But the slowdown began in February, while commodities have been falling only since July.  Another possibility is that the Chinese economic slowdown triggered the worldwide fall in commodity prices.

Furthermore, this slow import growth supports the December analysis of Anne Stevenson-Yang, a research director of J Capital, that Chinese economic growth has been much slower lately than official Chinese government statistics indicate. 

Perhaps in order to distract the Chinese people from their nation's stagnant economy, the Chinese government has been preparing to start a war with Japan.

Howard Richman with his father and son co-authored the 2014 book Balanced Trade, published by Lexington Books, and the 2008 book Trading Away Our Future, published by Ideal Taxes Association.

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