Tracking China’s Recovery With Alternative Data

Alternative data is increasingly being used as a way to get an edge on financial and commodity markets recently.  It has been valuable during the coronavirus epidemic as Wall Street forecasters have been slow to cut their economic growth forecasts for China.

The data provide a view of how many of the country’s 300 million migrant workers have left their hometowns since and returned to factory production lines.

DataTrek Research said it used air pollution figures in major cities and traffic congestion numbers provided by GPS navigation devices to get a sense of if the Chinese economy is recovering.

Exante Data’s Etra found, however,  that pollution data was not useful on its own to gauge a recovery in factory output as changes in weather made the data too volatile to show a discernible pattern.

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