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from Breakingviews:

China growth index: Good month for train-spotters

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By Katrina Hamlin

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Breakingviews’ forward guide to China’s economy has picked up, including rail freight volumes, an important sign of domestic demand. Summer’s PMI readings also improved. But most of the alternative growth indicators remain negative. Things are far from full steam ahead.

Run the numbers.

from MacroScope:

China’s new economy needs fresh, reliable indicator on consumers

China's transition into a domestic demand driven economy has kicked off with the government announcing long-awaited reforms, but it is missing a key element -- an indicator to measure the success of the plan.

Long considered the 'factory of the world', China has a vast population that works in factories that produce everything from consumer and electronic goods to clothes, technology equipment and trinkets of everyday value.

from Breakingviews:

Global trade surplus: proof of alien life?

By Andy Mukherjee

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Mankind has spent centuries looking for signs of alien life. Now a French graduate student appears to have found evidence in an unusual spot: the ledgers of the world’s customs offices.

from Breakingviews:

Abenomics pulls Japan from its post-Lehman slump

By Andy Mukherjee

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policies have beaten back the Japanese economy’s post-Lehman blues. Breakingviews' Abenomics Index was at its highest level in March since September 2008. And that was before the Bank of Japan launched its bold money-printing pledge.

from Breakingviews:

Record aircraft orders point to global growth bump

By Andy Mukherjee

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

The aviation industry’s incurable optimism is like a seatbelt sign for investors. That’s the conclusion of a Breakingviews study of global airline orders and economic growth. Aggressive aircraft orders have an inverse relationship with expansion in global GDP a year later. If that affiliation holds, big orders by Asian airlines point to rising risks of economic turbulence next year.

from MacroScope:

Hopefulness, not confidence, is spreading through the euro zone

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Optimism in Germany is roaring and consumers across the euro zone are starting to become less gloomy. But the latest hard economic data are a reminder of the difference between confidence that things are going to get better, and the hope that they will.

For the moment, we only have the latter.

Friday's German Ifo business climate survey topped even the highest expectations, as did the ZEW economic sentiment indicator on Tuesday. Euro zone consumer confidence improved this month too, and the mood in financial markets has been largely buoyant since the start of the year.

from Breakingviews:

G7 only adds to global currency confusion

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By Edward Hadas
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The G7 has spoken about the troubled foreign exchange markets, and the world is marginally less secure for it. In Tuesday’s four-sentence statement, the finance ministers and central bankers of the world’s leading economies managed to ignore the problem of inadvertent competitive devaluations, contradict themselves and make an empty promise.

from Breakingviews:

Surprisingly weak U.S. GDP has silver linings

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By Martin Hutchinson
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The surprisingly weak U.S. economic output in the fourth quarter contains more than a few silver linings. The nation’s GDP declined at an annualized rate of 0.1 percent, defying expectations of at least 1 percent growth, according to economists polled by Thomson Reuters. Lower government spending accounted for a big slug of the contraction while private consumption and income improved. There’s really little cause for alarm.

from Breakingviews:

China “hard landing” talk abates, but not for long

By John Foley

The author is a Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

China’s hard landing is the catastrophe that wasn’t. A return to expansion in the closely watched official survey of purchasing managers released on Nov. 1 leaves the Chinese economy on track for GDP growth of around 7.5 percent for 2012. The Breakingviews Tea Leaf Index, which combines a more eclectic group of indicators, also showed that conditions are improving. But talk of a punishing downturn will recur, because China’s economy remains unbalanced.

 Breakingviews China Tea Leaf Index

The big threat to China’s growth remains real estate, which contributes roughly 15 percent of GDP, and in reality much more, through its effects on consumer goods sales, wages and confidence.

from MacroScope:

An unpleasant surprise may lurk in euro zone GDP numbers

The euro zone economy may be doing far worse than most economists want to believe. That’s not good news for a central bank trying to rescue the single currency through a hotly-contested bond purchasing programme that has yet to get started.

The latest flash purchasing managers’ indexes, which cover thousands of euro zone companies, suggest the third quarter will mark the euro zone’s worst economic performance since the dark days of early 2009, according to Markit, which compiles them.

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