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China’s January Data Gap Vexes Economists

China’s campaign to upgrade its economic data, from plugging leaks to expanding sample sizes, is yet to tackle one gap: the monthlong delay each year in releasing some key January numbers.

Government agencies on Feb. 8 will report slower inflation of 2 percent and faster export growth of 17.4 percent, according to the median estimates of analysts for figures skewed by the timing of a weeklong Lunar New Year holiday. Data for industrial output, retail sales and fixed-asset investment won’t be publicly updated until March.