Mon, Dec 19, 2005 - Page 10 News List

China expected to get official economic status

AFP , BEIJING

China will leapfrog Italy, France and Britain to be officially recognized as the world's fourth-biggest economy if, as expected, it revises up last year's GDP by nearly US$300 billion, analysts said.

But such a move will again bring into question China's ability to accurately report its economic stat-istics and further unmask a government already obsessed with controlling how the media and public view the huge nation, they said.

"As if China's economy was not growing fast enough, thanks to a statistical revision, growth in 2005 looks like being about 30 percent," Standard Chartered economist Stephen Green said.

China's National Bureau of Statistics is expected to announce the results from the country's first nationwide economic census tomorrow, which, according to Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, will show that China's GDP has been understated by some US$300 billion.

The new figure is equivalent to 17.5 percent of last year's GDP.

"Most of the extra output is in services since the statistical apparatus is not that good at measuring the sector," Green said.

Officials from the statistics bureau refused to comment, but a spokeswoman from the Cabinet-level China Economy Census Office said that such media reports were "baseless."

Analysts agreed that the revised figures would allow the Chinese government to spout more good news about its booming economy.

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