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Understanding China's Economic Indicators: Translating the Data into Investment Opportunities 1st Edition

21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0132620192
ISBN-10: 0132620197
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The Investor’s Guide to China’s Economic Statistics : How to Discover, Interpret, and Profit from Them


Which numbers can you trust…and what do they really mean? Detailed coverage of 35 key indicators—and their impact on equity, commodity, and currency markets


This expert guide to China’s economic statistics gives you the up-to-the-minute knowledge you need to invest more profitably in China. The only book of its kind, it fills a pent-up demand for tradable information on China’s growth, inflation, investment, consumption, labor market, and financial data.


Tom Orlik identifies the indicators that matter most—ranging from gross domestic product to real estate construction, imports and exports to household spending and inflation. He explains everything investors need to know about their reliability—and drills down to reveal their specific implications for the markets.


Unprecedented in its clarity, depth, and insight, Understanding China’s Economic Indicators is an essential resource for every professional and individual investor seeking profits in the world’s fastest-growing, fastest-changing economy.


China moves the markets. Making the right investment decisions means understanding China’s economy–and that means understanding China’s economic indicators. In this book, leading economist and market analyst Tom Orlik introduces 35 of China’s most significant economic data series, explaining why each one matters, how it is collected and computed, and how it impacts equity, commodity, and currency markets.


Orlik helps investors make sense of data on everything from Chinese GDP growth to inflation, unemployment, bond yields, electricity production, and aircraft passenger numbers. Every indicator is clearly described, along with a practical discussion of its investment implications.


This information is indispensable for anyone considering investments in China, or in the global markets that are moved by China’s data. Never
before has it been organized so effectively–or presented with such clarity and insight.


Finding the wheat and filtering out the chaff

Identifying the statistics that are worth your time and trust


Overheated growth or sustainable development

Measuring China’s output and its impact on the markets


Income, savings, and household consumption

Are China’s low-wage consumers daring to spend?


From T-shirts to iPads: exports, imports, and trade surpluses

Shifting trade balances and their impact on exchange rates


Trends in lending, money supply, and growth

Recognizing turning points in economic growth and equity markets

About the Author

Tom Orlik is a China correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, where he writes the “Heard on the Street” column. Prior to joining the Journal, he worked for Stone & McCarthy Research Associates as an economist, briefing investors on China’s macroeconomic data. Before coming to China, Orlik worked for the British Treasury, including as a speechwriter for the Deputy Finance Minister, advisor to the UK Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund, and on secondment to the European Commission in Brussels. He has a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor’s in English from University College London. His work on the Chinese economy has been published by the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and the South China Morning Post. The head of China’s National Bureau of Statistics Ma Jiantang made Orlik’s essay on the quality of China’s economic data required reading for the entire staff of the statistical system.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (July 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0132620197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0132620192
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,321,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kilgore Gagarin TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was impressed enough with this cogent, well organized work, that I've already recommended that our reference department acquire a copy (mid-sized public university in the midwest).

The first thing I checked were the bona fides of the author (Tom Orlick). His pedigree includes being a "China correspondent" for the Wall Street Journal, an advisor to the UK Deputy Directory of the International Monetary Fund, and one of his essays on the quality of Chinese statistics is required reading by the staff of China's National Bureau of Statistics. Also, throw in degrees from London's University College and Harvard University.

The intrinsic strength of the book is its cogent and consistent layout as it examines 35 financial indicators. Each chapter is formatted using the same template which is explicitly described at the end of chapter 1. The template includes these, and other sections: What is the indicator? Where can you get it? How often does it come out? Why is it important?

- Begin abridged example of an indicator -

Real Estate Prices, Investment, Sales, and Construction

WHAT IS IT? Monthly report on prices . . . investement . . . sales . . .
RELEASE TIME: . . . price data released on the 18th of the month
FREQUENCY: Monthly . . .

Why is it important? (2 pages of background explanation)
How is the data calculated? (1.5 pages of explanation)
Interpreting the Data (5 pages of explanation including charts and graphs of sample data)
Market Impact: (.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ddjiii on August 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
There are a lot of books on the Chinese economy out there that start with a theory or an agenda. This one "teaches you to fish" so you can easily keep tabs on China's macro data yourself. The author takes a realistic and balanced attitude towards the official data, and helps clarify when to be trustful and when to be skeptical. There are a lot of examples taken from recent economic events illustrating how different indicators behaved in different circumstances, and guidance on how to look at different indicators together, or compare similar ones, to get a more complete picture of what really might be going on. The book is organized in such a way that you can read through it to get an overall picture, and easily refer back to the discussion of a particular indicator when you want to check something. The writing is lively and to my knowledge this kind of practical analysis information is not available elsewhere. Highly recommended for anyone following China's economy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By China Reader on August 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A thorough exposition on interpreting difficult statistics from the second largest economy in the world. The author has produced a well-reasoned and insightful perspective on China's often misunderstood economic data with a focus on informing concrete investment decisions. Highly recommended reading for anyone investing in or following the economy of the Middle Kingdom.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. M. VINE VOICE on October 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Tom Orlik's UNDERSTANDING CHINA'S ECONOMIC INDICATORS offers a fairly statistics-intensive overview of the world's most-populated nation. In a world economy is which China is on track to become the most influential country (we've all heard the "the China century" being knocked around). Americans should educate themselves about the such particulars as the "National Output," "Investment and Real Estate," "Labor Markets," and "Prices."

To provide the graphs, tables and other economic measurements, reliance on China's own data collection and publication was necessary. However, since China is a Communist country, and as such is still in large part a managed/planned economy, the question arises about the reliability of the numbers in and of themselves and in comparison with statistical data in the U.S. or Europe. The author's answer is, "The reality of China's economic data today is not the crude controlling hand of the Politburo dictating the GDP growth figure." He concedes it isn't perfect but assures the reader, "neither is it a farce."

Some of the book's tables contain type too small to be read without a magnifying glass (at least for eyes over age forty). Two examples are found on pages 116-117, in the section on Trade. Still, for American readers this may be one of the most relevant areas of interest. As with other topics, Orlik walks the reader through how the data is collected, and here because U.S. trade with China is so important to both countries, U.S. figures play a part in this analysis. Table 5.5 cites monetary figures for exports and imports to various countries and illustrates very well that "[e]xports are a key driver of growth in the Chinese economy." This not news of course, but this book illustrates that with statistics, not just words.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam Santhosh VINE VOICE on November 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
China is a difficult country to understand. Lack of transparency, singly party dictatorship, communist history, ancient culture, complex language etc. makes it impossible for non-Chinese to figure on what is going on there. However, as next economic superpower, China cannot be ignored.

This book is an excellent reference book to analyze and tract the indicators of China's economy. The different chapters cover the different aspects of the economy such as national output (GDP, Industrial Value added, Fiscal Revenue & Expenditure....), Investment and Real Estate, Household Sector (Retail Sales, Consumer sentiment....), External Sector (Trade, FDI, Reserves...), Labor Market, Prices and so on. The information on each indicator is covered in detail with excellent description of what it means (currency, units, period, etc), market sensitivity (High, Medium or Low), Release time, availability, frequency, source and so on. The author then shows how the data is calculated, why it is important and how it should be interpreted. If you want to track China's economy this book is a must for you. Written for the professional, the book will also be useful for students as well as laymen who are willing to take the effort.

The author shows that how important China is to the World economy and how the global markets are moved by China's data. It used to be said that when the U.S sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold. Now as this book shows, it is the China tail wagging the U.S dog.
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