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Chinese economic statistics credible: Nobel laureate(11/09/03)

Nobel laureate Lawrence Klein said here Sunday that his 25 years study of the Chinese economy had shown him that the official economic statistics were credible.

In a speech at the 2003 China Economic Growth Forum in east China's Suzhou city of Jiangsu Province, Lawrence said that he tested the truth of China's official numbers by choosing 15 statistical series related to the gross domestic product (GDP) from 1990 to 2000.

Using the analytical method of principal components in studyingthe 15 economic indicators, he found the resulting figures were generally consistent with the official numbers.

He said the most vocal critics of China's economic statistics were those who looked at one year's energy output or one year's oil production and made a very bold statement about what was happening with China's GDP.

"That's pure nonsense," Lawrence said.

He said an overall view of a country's entire economy was needed to assess GDP.

The 15 indicators that Lawrence selected to measure China's GDPincluded statistical series about electricity, coal, oil and steeloutput, civil aviation and rail freight, long distance telephone calls, the service sector, exports, imports, government spending, real wages, inflation and average standards of living.

He said Chinese figures were not corrected for the improvement of economic growth quality. "I've watched this economy for 24 to 25 years and I've seen the degree of improvement in quality," he said.

That meant if China were to treat the statistics the way the United States, Japan and European countries did for quality change,the real amount of statistics would be bigger, he said.

"My position is that the China numbers are credible," Lawrence said.


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