China could wave goodbye to its GDP data discord as the national statistics bureau chief claims that he will unify provincial and central GDP calculation methods and improve grassroots statistical quality this year.

Ma Jiantang, head of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has criticized some local officials who inflate the GDP figures they report to the NBS. The problem has affected the nation’s statistical credibility and produced disunity between central and provincial data, Ma said.

The aggregate of the GDP figures reported by local governments reportedly is often larger than the overall national figure released by the NBS, arousing concerns that the local governments may have rigged the statistics to show how capable they are of managing local economy.

The new move by NBS is expected to change that, at least partially.(…)

According to the bureau, in the first half of 2009, the sum of provincial GDP figures exceeded the national GDP figure, calculated by the bureau independently, by more than 1.4 trillion yuan, or about 10 percent of the total GDP. In 2004, the difference was 3 trillion yuan, or 19.3 percent of the national GDP that year, which was the biggest gap in history.

Ma said that some provinces reported 18 to 20 percent year-on-year GDP growth amid the country’s economic slowdown in 2009. This has raised an alarm for statisticians, because the national GDP growth in that year was only 8.7 percent.

China will release quarter-on-quarter growth data this year, which will help monitor the economy’s short-term growth trend more effectively, Ma said. (…)

Full China Daily article


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