China revises down 2019 GDP growth to 6% on lower manufacturing

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) – China revised down its official GDP growth rate for 2019 to 6 per cent from 6.1 per cent, mainly due to a lower estimate for manufacturing output, a change that will make it slightly easier for officials to report economic expansion this year.

Gross domestic product in 2019 was 435 billion yuan (S$88.4 billion) smaller than the initial estimate released in January, China’s statistics bureau said on Wednesday (Dec 30). That amount is roughly equal to the GDP of Ghana last year, based on World Bank figures.

According to the latest estimate, China’s nominal GDP was 98.7 trillion yuan in 2019. The manufacturing sector saw the largest change – with value-added output reduced by 503.8 billion yuan from an earlier estimate – followed by the finance, transportation and construction sectors.

China often makes small revisions to GDP data, based on factors such as the collection of more comprehensive data from businesses. Beijing in January revised up the annual growth rates between 2014 and 2018. In 2019, it revised the estimated growth of 2017 GDP downwards by 0.1 percentage point to 6.8 per cent.

Beijing didn’t publish a GDP growth target in 2020 for the first time in decades, as it struggled with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Since then it’s largely controlled the spread of the virus, with business activity mostly returning to normal.

As a result, China is the only major economy that’s expected to grow this year, though at a slower rate of around 2 per cent, according to economists’ forecasts.

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