China’s lower-than-forecast 4.9% gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate in the third quarter of 2021 was mainly an artifact of state management, and to a smaller extent the result of state blunders.

Regulators threw the country’s most levered property developers under the bus, and engineered a recession in the real estate sector, which accounts for a quarter of China’s GDP.

The country continued to grow first of all because consumption growth stayed on trend, and secondly because of strong net exports. Severe energy shortages, the consequence of unintended consequences of environmental measures and ill-considered utility regulation, also depressed third-quarter growth.