BEIJING -- With construction cranes moving again all across China, from Guangzhou to Beijing, and with steel mills and concrete factories busy once more, the Chinese economy is showing signs of a debt-fueled recovery this autumn even as the United States and the European Union continue to struggle.
Industrial production, fixed-asset investment, retail sales and electricity generation all strengthened more than expected last month, continuing a trend that began in September, while inflation slowed more than expected.
State-owned banks have released a torrent of loans to state-owned enterprises since May, producing a swift revival of investment spending this fall but also raising questions about the efficiency of those investments.
A raft of data came out Friday as the country's senior officials and top military officers gathered here for a once-a-decade leadership transition at the Party Congress, prompting some skepticism overseas and in China that the data might have been manipulated for political benefit.
But while many economists and business executives say that Chinese economic data appears to have been deliberately altered over the spring and summer to hide the severity of an economic slowdown, they expressed more confidence that the economy was now on the mend.
An aging workforce, overcapacity in many industries and heavy corporate debts appear to be producing a weaker recovery than in 2010, however, with little sign that the released Friday point to growth rates that will reach double digits again soon.
"Given that they have been published while the Party Congress is in session, some skeptics have questioned whether they can be believed," Capital Economics, a London consulting firm, said in a research note.
"In our view, there is solid evidence of a turnaround but not of a strong rebound."
Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, said at a news conference at the Party Congress Thursday evening that the economy appeared to have turned a corner even before the strong performance in October.