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Local, national GDP gap shows Chinese economy growing even faster
SHANGHAI, Aug 9 (AFP) Aug 09, 2006
The economies in three quarters of China's provinces expanded at 12 percent or more in the first six months, above the national figure of 10.9 percent, the country's key economic planner said.

All 31 mainland provinces reported double-digit growth rates in the first half, while 23 recorded growth above 12 percent, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a report carried by Xinhua news agency late Tuesday.

This means that if the provincial GDP figures were added, the current size of China's economy would be 100 billion dollars bigger than the country's official GDP of about 1.1 trillion dollars for the first six months.

The disparity between provincial and national data again calls into doubt China's statistics as well as the central government's ability to brake a racing economy that could face severe consequences if not brought to heel.

Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, at a teleconference last month with senior party and government officials at both the provincial and county level, demanded adherence to Beijing's macro economic directives.

"All localities and departments must unify their thinking and bring it in line with the central government's assessment of the current economic trends," Wen said in remarks carried on July 27 by the official communist party newspaper, the People's Daily.

"They much unify in support of the policies and work agenda decided by the central government."

In December last year China adjusted upwards the size of its economy by nearly 300 billion to catapult the nation to the status of the fourth largest of world economies.

According to the commission's report, Inner Mongolia in the north topped the list of revved up local economies with an expansion of 18.2 percent since 2003.

Among other standouts were coastal provinces Jiangsu with 15.4 percent growth and Shandong at 15.3 percent, while Tianjin municipality in the north and Guandong in the south each reported at 14.4 percent.

Likely to exacerbate Beijing's worries was a review of provincial fixed-asset investment, a wide measure of how much the government is pouring into major infrastructure like roads and economic parks.

Last month the statistics bureau reported a national average of 29.8 percent fixed-asset investment growth.

But the commission said that 12 provinces had recorded investment levels of above 38 percent growth, while 16 others had exceeded 31 percent.

Jilin, in China's northeast hit 55.6 percent while Anhui in the east rose was 54.1 percent.

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