1. Yes, even if real GDP growth does not. Speculation over the true GDP growth rate in China, as opposed to the official one, has spawned a cottage industry of specialist economists. The official figures are deceptively stable and serene thanks to suspected “smoothing” by the Chinese authorities, as they bend the figures to fit growth targets. So even if growth does stumble in 2018, the official growth rate is almost certain to come in above the preordained 6.5 per cent.
2. Rank: 1
3. The ECB ended the year with a vote on December 3 to cut its deposit rate to minus 0.3 per cent and an expansion in asset purchases that leaves its quantitative easing programme at 1.46tn. The move came days before the US Federal Reserve increased interest rates for the first time since 2006, underlining the sharply divergent policies being pursued on either side of the Atlantic.
5. The number of such applications in Beijing last year increased 426% from that of 2015.
The Baltic Dry index, a measure of the trade in bulk commodities, has been touching historic lows. China, which in 2014 overtook the US as the biggest trading nation, this month reported double-digit falls in both exports and imports in January. In Brazil, which is experiencing its worst recession in more than a century, imports from China have collapsed.