China revises down 2017 economic growth rate to 6.8 per cent ahead of announcing 2018 GDP figures

19-Jan-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

China’s economic growth rate for 2017 has been revised down to 6.8 per cent from 6.9 per cent as part of annual data revisions, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced on Friday.

The estimated size of the economy at the end of 2017 was down by 636.7 billion yuan (US$93.9 billion), or 0.8 per cent, to 82.08 trillion yuan based on the final verification of economic figures, the bureau said.

It typically releases the final reading of each year’s GDP figure in the second January after the end of the concerned.

The downward revision to 2017 GDP was larger than it was the year before. The bureau revised down the size of the economy in 2016 by 0.07 per cent, and left the annual growth rate unrevised.

The adjustment announced on Friday created a lower base for computing the growth rate for 2018. It is unclear if the lower base will have any effect on the growth rate calculation.

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The bureau is due to release fourth quarter 2018 and full-year 2018 GDP figures on Monday at 10am Beijing time.

Before the revision of 2017 GDP, China’s quarterly economic expansion pace had been expected to weaken to 6.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year from 6.5 per cent in the third quarter, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey.

A reading of 6.4 per cent would have matched the lowest quarterly growth rate yet, which occurred in the first quarter of 2009, at the beginning of the global financial crisis.

Analysts also forecast that China’s annual GDP growth rate could reach 6.6 per cent in 2018, exceeding the 6.5 per cent target set by the government at the beginning of last year.

Beijing has stepped up efforts to keep economic growth on track by announcing a series of stimulus measures, including more incentives for consumers to buy cars and household appliances, as well as a large tax cut.

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Since last year, China has pushed local statistics authorities to squeeze out “inflated factors” in regional economic data.

In the latest example, the central province of Hubei revised down its size of its economy in 2017 by about 104 billion yuan, a cut of nearly 3 per cent.


Category: China

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