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GDP Data System to Be Improved

China will take measures to provide more accurate information regarding its estimates on gross domestic product (GDP) and improve its data dissemination system.

Li Deshui, commissioner of the National Bureau of Statistics, said Thursday that since 1985, when China established a GDP estimation system, the accuracy of its GDP figures has been constantly improving.

"The figures provide an important basis for the central government and the public to understand the current stage of the country's socio-economic development," Li said.

However, some problems still exist in the current GDP estimation and data dissemination system, he said.

"The country did not establish a regular revision and adjustment mechanism in terms of GDP estimation," he said.

The National Bureau of Statistics usually announces the annual GDP estimate at the end of each year.

This can make people misunderstand that the figures were the real ones for the year, which will increase people's doubt on the reliability of the figures, he said.

After obtaining more basic references, the statistics departments only published the revised figure for the total volume GDP, but not the growth rate.

"This is not in line with international practices," Li said.

For the quarterly GDP estimation, the statistics bureau also did not make a timely adjustment of the figures after obtaining more basic references.

From next year, the statistics bureau will not announce the annual GDP estimates at the end of the year, Li said.

The preliminary estimation of the year's GDP will be announced on January 20 next year.

The bureau will also publish preliminary revisions and final revised GDP figures later.

If the statistics bureau finds new basic references which have a great impact on the estimation of GDP following nationwide censuses, the bureau will revise the historical GDP figures and publish them.

Except in special circumstances such as the SARS epidemic, the central and local governments will not publish monthly GDP figures, Li said.

Li defended the reliability of the GDP figures for the first three quarters of this year, which grew 8.5 percent to 7.91 trillion yuan (US$953.2 billion).

"The figures basically reflect the current pictures of China's economic development situation and future trends," Li said.

Along with more references collected, the statistics bureau will revise the GDP figures to make it more accurate and scientific, he said.

Li also announced China will conduct its first national economic census next year.

(China Daily November 21, 2003)

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