China’s economy in 2018 was 2.1% bigger than originally estimated, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced on Friday, saying it had revisedlast year’s gross domestic product (GDP) up by RMB 1.9 trillion ($270 billion) in the wake of the results of the latest national economic census, reported Caixin.
The increase is the smallest of all four upward adjustments made after the censuses of 2004, 2008, 2013 and 2018, but could still help ease pressure on the government to implement stimulus to achieve its target of doubling real GDP and per-capita income by 2020 from 2010 levels. Friday’s announcement by the NBS, which followed initial publication of the census’s findings on Wednesday, put China’s nominal GDP in 2018 at RMB 91.93 trillion.
“The revision has three key effects,” economists at Nomura Holdings wrote in a note on Friday. “First it helps Beijing to deliver on its target of doubling real GDP by 2020 from the 2010 levels. Second, it provides some leeway in Beijing’s determination of its 2020 growth target. Third, it may help to clarify what Beijing needs to do to deliver on its 2020 growth target.”
China needs to reach an average annual real GDP growth rate of 6.2% in 2019-20 to deliver on its promise to double real GDP in this decade, they said. Expansion of around 6.2% should be achievable for 2019 but delivering 6.2% growth in 2020 does not look very realistic. “The upward revision to 2018 nominal GDP likely allows Beijing to set a lower growth target for 2020 while still delivering on its promise to double GDP,” they said.