Reuters blog archive
from Global Investing:
China's inflation print for June at 2.7 percent, a four-month high, was higher than forecast, but part of the picture could be obfuscated by a lack of accounting for the ever-growing online retail sector.
Gross domestic product figures have been consistently revised down this year from 8 percent to around 7.4 percent by July, with significant doubt over the reliability of official data. Some analysts forecast the more likely GDP print is around 5 percent, given the lack of punishment for falsifying local data and incentives for better growth figures for regional prints.
With an increasing share of shopping carried out online through websites such as Taobao, Tmall and Paipai, there is an increasing argument for online retail numbers -which had lifted one metric of inflation closer to 7 percent in April - to be included in the headline CPI. That metric is the retail sector's internet shopping price index (iSPI).
This includes (based on the compilation of Taobao sales data) food, tobacco, liquor, clothing, household equipment and maintenance services, health care and personal products, transport and communications, entertainment and educational products and services including residential and office supplies. If inflation were calculated on this basis, it could be more accurately computed at 3.15 percent today.
Can slower Internet speeds convince consumers to stop pirating copyrighted material online? That's the assumption behind a new anti-piracy effort launched this week by a coalition of Internet service providers and groups representing movie studios and record labels.
Under the new initiative, AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon have agreed to send customers email or pop-up alerts if it is suspected that their account is being used to download or share copyrighted material illegally. Should suspected illegal activity persist, providers might temporarily slow Internet speeds or redirect their browser to a specific Web page until the customer contacts the company. Time's Techland blog calls the effort "fairly reasonable" but points out that "it's only a matter of time before someone is falsely accused of copyright infringement and throttled accordingly." Users accused can seek an independent review of whether they acted illegally.