China may be under-reporting the strength of its economy.
The latest GDP growth data from provincial officials are much stronger than the central government’s national total, the Financial Times reports.
That, of course, leads experts to wonder about how reliable Chinese statistics are across the board.
First-half GDP totaled 15.376 trillion renminbi ($2.251 trillion), according to data released by each of China’s 31 provinces and municipalities, the FT reports.
That’s 10 percent higher than the official first-half GDP figure of 13.986 trillion published by the National Bureau of Statistics.
Chinese numbers frequently are unreliable and manipulated by officials for personal and political purposes, the paper says.
Even state-controlled media stories and editorials have questioned the data’s accuracy recently. So have foreign experts.
“Despite starkly limited resources and a dynamic, complex economy, the state statistical bureau again needed only 15 days to survey the economic progress of 1.3 billion people,” Derek Scissors of the Heritage Foundation in Washington told the FT, referring to the time it took for the bureau to produce the GDP figures.
“At worst, results are manufactured to suit the Communist party.”
The Chinese government may be purposely understating its growth figures to avoid concern about bubbles brewing in China’s stock and real estate markets.
Bei Fu of Standard & Poor’s tells The Wall Street Journal that many Chinese developers “continue to have a potentially risky appetite for expansion and land acquisitions, largely supported by an aggressive equity culture.”
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