Chinese Data Said to Be Manipulated, Understating Slowdown - NYTimes.com:
"Record-setting mountains of excess coal have accumulated at the country’s biggest storage areas because power plants are burning less coal in the face of tumbling electricity demand. But local and provincial government officials have forced plant managers not to report to Beijing the full extent of the slowdown, power sector executives said.
Electricity production and consumption have been considered a telltale sign of a wide variety of economic activity. "One quick, obvious thought: Of course China's economy is slowing down. It's an export-based manufacturing economy--and consumers in the rest of the world are either A) holding onto their cash, B) don't have any cash, or C) are paying down old credit cards. We're not buying as much stuff as we used to. That means China can't sell as much as it used to. China may be stronger than a lot of Western nations, but n a globalized economy, nobody gets out alive.