What a controversial pastry says about China’s economy

Gift or graft?

MOONCAKES are among the most divisive treats. For some the chewy pastries are delicacies on which to gorge for the Mid-Autumn Festival, a Chinese holiday that falls this year on September 24th. For others they are dry, dense and full of calories. But for economists they are something else entirely: an indicator of important trends in consumption, innovation, corruption and grey-market trading.

Mooncakes play this role because of their status as gifts. Ahead of the mid-autumn holiday, companies give them to employees; business contacts exchange them. Consumption of mooncakes is thus less a reflection of whether people enjoy the pastries, likened by some to edible hockey pucks, and more a measure of the health of the economy. So it is heartening to know that, amid rising trade tensions with America, the Chinese bakery association has forecast that sales of mooncakes will rise by a solid 5-10% this year.

Some observers fret that Chinese...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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