The week ahead sees around 500 American (US) companies report earnings, providing an initial insight into how the COVID-19 outbreak is hitting revenues and profits at some of the world’s largest firms - Photo: Xinhua

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The world’s second-biggest economy, China raised its gross domestic product (GDP) for 2018 to 91.93 trillion yuan (US$13.08 trillion), 2.1 percent more than the previously stated figure, following the latest revision of the calculations by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Friday (11/22).

The revised figure is 1.9 billion yuan more than the one reported in January, according to the NBS statement, reported by Reuters. The change in the size of the 2018 GDP will not significantly influence the calculation for the 2019 growth rate, the statistics bureau said.

This review corresponds to the final verification of Chinese GDP and was carried out after the 2018 national economic census, the fourth of its kind conducted in the country, after 2004, 2008 and 2013.

The new data shows a decrease in the initial estimate of the weight of primary and secondary industries on China’s total wealth, amounting to 0.1 percent and 1 percent respectively, and a 1.1 percent increase in the tertiary sector.

Based on the original 2018 GDP figure, China needed to grow at least 6.1 percent in 2020 to achieve the goal of achieving a “moderately prosperous society” with GDP and per capita income double the level of 2010.

The goal was set by former president Hu Jintao in 2012 and is seen as an important benchmark for judging the success of the Chinese Communist Party’s economic management.

A higher GDP base in 2018 suggests that China could grow at a slower rate in 2020 and still meet the target.

Next year’s growth rate is widely expected to be below 6 percent, given growth slipped to 6.0 percent in the third quarter of this year and is slated to fall further amid a trade war with the United States and domestic headwinds.

The International Monetary Fund, for instance, forecast in October that China’s growth could slow to 5.8 percent next year from this year’s 6.1 percent rate.

China routinely revises its annual GDP data. Days before GDP data for 2018 was released in January, the statistics bureau cut its final 2017 growth figure to 6.8 percent from 6.9 percent.

China’s fourth National Economic Census, released on Wednesday, included “richer” data points that showed more business entities and a bigger total asset base in 2018 than assumed under earlier GDP estimates.

The size of the nation’s economy is widely believed to be underestimated in many areas, due to recent rapid shifts towards digital and service sector-dominated growth. The accuracy of China’s official economic data has been widely questioned by analysts outside of China. There have been a number of incidents in which local government officials have falsified economic data reporting to increase their chances of promotion.

Beijing announced earlier this month that it would unify the GDP calculation at the central government level starting in early 2020 and would collect more data directly from companies to eliminate the possibility of local forgery.

Yuan1=US$0.14

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com