Serious Concerns for China Economy

China’s steel and metals markets, a barometer of the world’s second-biggest economy, are “a lot worse than you think,” according to a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst who just completed a tour of the country.

What he saw: idle cranes, empty construction sites and half-finished, abandoned buildings in several cities. Conversations with executives reinforced the “gloomy” outlook.

“China’s metals demand is plummeting,” wrote Kenneth Hoffman, the metals analyst who spent a week traveling across the country, meeting with executives, traders, industry groups and analysts. “Demand is rapidly deteriorating as the government slows its infrastructure building and transforms into a consumer economy.”