China will not arbitrarily adjust economic data from previous years to make it easier to hit its growth targets, a deputy head of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Wednesday, seeking to squash speculation that officials will use the results of the latest national economic census to boost flagging gross domestic product (GDP), reported Caixin.
China’s economy will expand by 6.1% in 2019, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of analysts, the weakest gain in almost three decades. That’s down from 6.6% in 2018 and at the bottom end of the target range of 6% to 6.5% announced by Premier Li Keqiang in March. The pace could slide to below 6% in 2020, according to the forecasts of many economists. The steeper-than-expected slowdown has led some analysts to doubt whether the country can meet its target of doubling GDP and per-capita income in 2020 from 2010 levels.
The publication of some of the results of the fourth national economic census on Wednesday has triggered speculation that the government might use the survey as an opportunity to make upward revisions to historical GDP figures to help achieve those goals, which were set in 2012. The economy expanded 9.3% in 2011 before a revision after the third economic census boosted it to 9.6%. GDP growth has slowed to below 7% since 2015 and is expected to fall to within a whisker of 6% in 2019, dragged down by factors including sluggish domestic demand and the trade war with the US.