New Data Show China Grew Even Faster In 2003, 2004

China announced, on Jan. 9, a further revision of economic data following a major upgrade last month, with the new figures showing the booming country grew even faster than first thought in 2003 and 2004. After last month's statement that the size of China's economy had been underestimated by 17% or $284 billion in 2004, the National Bureau of Statistics revised up gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2004 from 9.5 % to 10.1%. Growth in 2003 was also revised to 10%, up from 9.5%.

Between 1993 and 2004, China's economy expanded at an average rate of 9.9%, up from the 9.4% given in previously reported figures.

Last month, the government said that after a new survey, China's economy was worth nearly 16 trillion yuan (US$1.98 trillion) in 2004. That revision was largely due to earlier miscalculations in the size of the service and private sectors, which had traditionally been seen as "grey areas" in China's statistics gathering methods.

Those new official numbers lifted China past Italy to become the world's sixth largest economy, with the 2005 figures due out this month tipped to catapult the Asian giant to fourth on the list.

With the 2005 economic data due out soon, China is likely to officially overtake France and Britain to become the world's fourth largest economy behind the U.S., Japan and Germany. France posted GDP of $2.0 trillion in 2004, while Britain's economy was worth $2.14 trillion, according to World Bank figures.

Economists predict China's economy will have grown between 8% and 9% in 2005, much faster most developed countries such as France or Great Britain.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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