China’s vice premier Li Keqiang was widely reported to have said that China’s GDP figures are not reliable. According to Reuters, he is said to rely on electricity consumption, rail cargo volume, and banking lending.
In case you have not been watching, the rail cargo volume growth on a year-on-year basis has just turned negative in June. Total volume of freight handled by railways amounted to 315 million tonnes, fell by 3.1% compared to a year ago. The year-on-year change has turned negative for the first time since September 2009.
The chart below shows the cargo volume by transportation mode. With the exception of rail cargo volume growth, the data points seem rather random in comparison to GDP growth. If Li Keqiang is correct about the usefulness of rail cargo volume, then the economy has probably not bottomed in the second quarter.