By Clyde Rusell via Reuters | Jan 19, 2016

The trick with big, important numbers like China’s gross domestic product (GDP) is not working out what the data tells us, rather it’s what it doesn’t.

China’s economy met market expectations by expanding 6.8 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of last year, which put full-year growth at 6.9 percent, down from 7.3 percent in 2014 and the slowest pace of expansion in a quarter of a century.

Other economic data released on Tuesday came in slightly below market forecasts, with December industrial output up 5.9 percent year-on-year, retail sales up 11.1 percent and January to December fixed-asset investment up 10 percent.

What the data shows is that the trend of a slowing Chinese economy remains intact, as does the slow and somewhat painful process of shifting the drivers of growth from heavy industry and construction to consumer activity…