China Changes GDP Recipe in First Revision Since 2002 -- Update

Features Dow Jones Newswires

China has revised the way it measures the size of its economy, the first such change since 2002, in what it says is an effort to better align its data with international standards.

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The country's National Bureau of Statistics unveiled the revisions in a statement posted on its website Friday, three days before the release of its closely watched gross domestic product data for the second quarter.

The adjusted framework for calculating GDP--approved last week by China's cabinet, the State Council--includes the addition of the health-care, tourism and "new, emerging economy" industries, the bureau said. The new economy typically refers to those companies that are in the high-technology sector or considered to be environmentally friendly.

The bureau didn't say whether the changes would be reflected in the GDP figures set for release Monday or if they would result in the revision of historical data.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expect China's economy to have grown 6.8% from a year ago in the latest quarter, down slightly from the first quarter's 6.9% expansion.

The NBS said the classification and definitions of certain data sets are also being revised. For example, intellectual property will be broken out as a separate item under nonfinancial assets, while workers' equity holdings in their employers will be counted as part of their income.

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The agency said that some of the changes had already been incorporated into its calculations but others would take more time because of the substantial amount of work required to implement them.

The revisions are unlikely to affect next week's economic data but will probably be reflected over the medium-to-long term, said Yang Zhao, an economist at Nomura Group.

"If, say, under the new framework, it turned out China doesn't need high growth rates to reach the goal of doubling per capita income by 2020, then it may have some major impacts on policy-making in the future," he said.

Liyan Qi

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 14, 2017 08:16 ET (12:16 GMT)