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Nikkei Shimbun: China’s 2023 GDP Growth Was Actually Negative

Japan’s Nikkei Shimbun ran an article saying that China’s 2023 GDP numbers reported by the communist regime are likely fake. Given suspicions of data tampering by both local and central party apparatuses in China, Nikkei Shimbun put together a rough alternative estimate using three data points that have a significant impact on GDP: real estate investment, net exports, and household consumption.

  • Real estate investment accounts for about 10 percent of GDP. Adding in Chinese consumer spending on electrical products, the sum accounts for about 30 percent of GDP. In 2023, China’s real estate investment decreased by 16.7 percent compared to 2022, which could lead to a decrease of 5 percent in GDP.
  • China’s net exports (i.e. the difference between imports and exports) historically accounts for about 3 percent of China’s GDP. However, from January to November 2023, net exports decreased by 32.3 percent compared to the same period in 2022, resulting in an estimated reduction in 2023 GDP of about 1 percent.
  • Chinese officials have not publicly disclosed household consumption data, which accounts for about 40 percent of China’s GDP. Nikkei estimated this data using total retail sales to consumers, a figure which increased by 7.2 percent in 2023 compared to 2022, impacting GDP positively by about 2.8 percent.

Adding these three numbers together, the resulting estimated true change in GDP is negative 3.2 percent. Even accounting for the impact of inflation, the change in GDP should be at least negative 2 percent, significantly below the positive 5.2 percent change in GDP published by the Chinese government.

The Nikkei report urged Japanese investors in China to withdraw their funds as soon as possible.

Source: New Talk (Taiwan), January 31, 2024