01/16/2006, 00.00
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Economy slows down in some Chinese provinces

In many provinces growth data was revised downwards. There is discordant development, hidden by inexact and at times false data.

Beijing (AsiaNews/SCMP) – The review of China's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which recently revaluated the economy by nearly 17%, has revealed that growth in 12 provinces is less than previously reported and that therefore development is "not in harmony".

Last week, the Central Bureau of Statistics reviewed GDP information after the outcome of the economic census. A 10.1% growth was registered for 2004 instead of the previously estimated 9.5%.

But local data about the economy has always been criticized as being poor in accuracy and different from national outcomes. Even for 2004, the sum of the GDP provided by local authorities reported a growth rate 3.9% higher than the national 9.5%. At the end of the review, and with the application of different assessment measures  (for example, with greater value attributed to services), 12 out of 31 local administrations turned out to have lesser growth in 2004, even in absolute terms. And there were great differences between local economies.

In Hubei, for example, the "revised" GDP is of 563.2 billion yuan, less than the previous estimate of 630.99 billion. In Hebei, there was a drop to 840.48 billion from 876.88 billion. Henan has not budged at 855.4 billion, instead of 881.5 billion. In Sichuan the economy has dropped to 637.96 billion rather than the estimated 655.6 billion.

Beijing, meanwhile, has leapt ahead, with an output of 606 billion yuan in 2004 instead of the estimated 428.33 billion. And Guangdong, the richest province, has made 1.88 trillion yuan and not 1.60 trillion, streets ahead of Shandong, a good second, which went from 1.54 to 1.50 trillion.

Li Dehui, bureau director, was quoted by the government newspaper, Economic Information Daily, which published the results, as saying that the incorrectness of local data was due to lack of accuracy and also to frequent falsifications by government officials to show they had attained good results. The viewpoint raises question marks even about the credibility of national data, which must base itself on what local governments report.

It is necessary and even urgent to "improve technical methodology and to reform the statistical system," said Liu Pinan, president of the Macroeconomic Research Institute of the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences.

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