Yes, today’s as much of a write-off as you expected when your alarm cut into that wonderful, if fantastical, recurring dream about China reaching its 8% GDP growth target this year. The bad news starts with China Southern Airlines, which recorded a loss of US$705.5 million in 2008, its highest ever, due to weak demand, last year’s high oil prices and losses on its fixed assets. Unfortunately for Royal Dutch Shell, those high oil prices didn’t continue into 2009, forcing the company to postpone or cancel a number of its China-based alternative-energy projects. It’s not all cloudy and polluted skies, though. A silver lining to news that electricity use in China was down 4% in March is the fact that that’s less of a drop than we’ve seen in previous months. There were also some sunny numbers from Volkswagen. The purveyor of Fahrvernügen reported its China sales increased by 9% in March as government policies to boost car sales kicked in.