China announced on Monday that it would be indefinitely delaying the release of its third-quarter economic data, which was originally scheduled to publish on Tuesday. The economic data would have included third-quarter GDP and other economic monthly indicators, Bloomberg reports. No new release date has been provided at this time.
This move by the National Bureau of Statistics was announced during China's national congress of the Communist party which occurs twice a decade, The New York Times reports. The delay has drawn suspicion that the data may be worse than expected. The Chinese economy has been facing a number of troubles including a property crisis and the impact of the zero-COVID policy, an attempt to eliminate the virus through strict lockdowns, reports the Financial Times.
China is the world's second-largest economy, and the decision to delay statistics is a potentially costly one. Investors all over the world closely watch China's quarterly data, Bloomberg explains. Experts predict that China would have announced growth of a mere 3 percent, which although better than its second-quarter growth of 0.4 percent, is well below its target of 5.5 percent set back in March, the Times continues.
Overall, this is considered an unusual move as countries almost never delay releasing statistics as it could lead to less confidence in their economy. China also delayed the release of the September data for retail sales, industrial production, and fixed asset investment.
The announcement comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to be granted a third presidential term during this congress.