Industrial production picked up in July after two months of slight growth, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in the latest reading that shows the economy in the third quarter got off to a decent start. Industrial production picked up 0.6% in July after slender 0.1% monthly gains in May and June, the Fed said. The Fed had previously reported a 0.4% gain in June and a 0.2% drop in May. The 0.6% gain was as expected in a MarketWatch-compiled poll of economists. Capacity utilization rose to 79.3% in July from 78.9% in May – the highest level since April 2008. Even so, it’s still 1% below its average from 1972 to 2011.
Capacity utilisation has dropped from about 80% before the crisis to a mere 60% in 2011. That compares with about 78.9% for the US currently for total industry (which is not very high by US’s historical average), and 66.8% at the financial crisis trough according to the Federal Reserve. In other words, current capacity utilisation in China appears to be even lower than that of the US during the 2008/09 financial crisis.
Beware all Chinese numbers, but still that cannot be taken as a good sign. Note that the real estate bubble probably is not fundamental to the Chinese economic crisis (though it is a problem), but excess capacity is.