China 2013 GDP revision won't affect growth this year

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China has revised up the estimated size of its economy for 2013 by 3.4 percent to 58.8 trillion yuan ($9.5 trillion), the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday, but said the revision will not affect economic growth this year.

That marks an increase of 1.9 trillion yuan, or $305 billion, in the size of the Chinese economy that year, slightly below the entire gross domestic product of Malaysia during the same period, according to World Bank statistics.

The increase was mainly due to an upward revision of contribution from the services sector.

Services accounted for 46.9 percent of 2013 GDP, up from an initial estimate of 46.1 percent, while the secondary sector - which includes manufacturing and construction - accounted for 43.7 percent of GDP, down from 43.9 percent.

China has been trying to improve its statistical system amid widespread skepticism about the reliability of its data.

The statistics bureau said it was still revising the historical GDP data series, which could show revised economic growth for 2013 and previous years.

"The revision of 2013 GDP could affect the size of 2014 GDP but will basically not affect GDP growth for 2014," the bureau said in a statement.

Some analysts had previously expected the GDP revision to make it easier for the government to meet its growth target of around 7.5 percent in 2014.

The revised figure follows a new economic census, in which the bureau changed its methodology. But it did not say it had added research and development (R&D) spending into GDP or revised the way it calculates the value of "housing services" that homes provide to their owners, as some economists reports had predicted it would.

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R&D spending, which is around 2 percent of GDP, is officially classified as a business cost, not investment, in China. In 2013, the United States revised the way it calculated gross domestic product to include R&D spending.

The third economic census, which was published earlier this week, showed that the services sector had expanded at a faster clip than the manufacturing sector between 2009 and 2013.

The past two censuses led to a 16.8 percent revision to 2004 GDP size and a 4.4 percent increase in 2008.

China's economic growth weakened to 7.3 percent in the third quarter, and November's soft factory and investment figures suggest full-year growth will miss Beijing's 7.5 percent target and mark the weakest expansion in 24 years.