The signs of a so-called “cooling” economy are stacking up, and it’s starting to feel downright chilly out here in China. Yesterday we saw reports of slowing industrial growth. Today we saw urban fixed-asset investment in the first 11 months of the year grow by 26.8%, which is all well and good until you compare it to the 27.2% growth recorded in the first 10 months. The slowdown was attributed to weaker export demand and lower investment by property developers looking to clear existing inventories. And our wealthy pals in mergers and acquisitions also cooled their jets, with M&A activity from July to November slowing by 47% compared to the same period last year, according to PwC. Investors have adopted a wait-and-see attitude during the financial crisis, though private equity firms are eyeing opportunities as valuations drop to realistic levels. Finally, Hong Kong’s two main toy industry groups are predicting that sales of Chinese-made toys will be flat next year. (Why have you forsaken us, Santa?) Association officials pin the blame on the recession in the EU and the US, and say the industry is in a “deep winter.” Hey, industry-group-official-guy! Leave the metaphors to the professionals!