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Official: China's GDP growing 9.1% in 2003
( 2004-01-20 10:22) (chinadaily.com.cn/Wang Hongjun)

China's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2003 hit 11.694 trillion yuan (US$1.414 trillion), up 9.1 per cent over the previous year, the National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday.

The GDP rise represented the highest growth since 1997, according to preliminary estimation and evaluation, Li Deshui, director of China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), said at a press conference held by the Information Office of the State Council on January 20.

The per capita GDP reached a record US$1,090, suggesting that China's economic development has entered a new era, Li said. 

The achievement was a hard-won successful one after the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory epidemic and frequent natural disasters, he said.

In terms of different industries, the value-added of the primary industry was 1724.7 billion yuan, up 2.5 percent, or 0.4 percentage point lower than the growth of the previous year.

The value-added of the secondary industy was 6177.8 billion yuan, up 12.5 percent, or 2.7 percentage point higher than the year before.

The tertiary industry stood at 3766.9 billion yuan, up 6.7 percent, or 0.8 percentage point lower than the previous year.

In terms of different quarters, GDP in the first quarter was up 9.9 percent, the second 6.7 percent, the third 9.6 percent and the fouth 9.9 percent respectively.

The country's consumer price index (CPI) increased by 1.2 percent in 2003, Li said, adding that: "There was no severe inflation in China."

The number of people newly employed in China's urban areas reached 8.5 million in 2003, exceeding the central government's initial expectation of eight million, according to Li.

In addition, the number of re-employed urban people last year reached 4.4 million, also exceeding the expected number of four million.

The country's fixed asset investmen grew by 26.7 percent. Foreign exchange reserve rose sharply to US$403.3 billion by the end of 2003.

GDP accounting to be improved

China will carry out a series of measures to improve and standardize the regional GDP accounting from the year of 2004, said Li.

All regions across China are required to use the permanent population instead of the cureent registered population in the calculation of per capita GDP. A spell of two years will be granted for those areas where both registered population and permanent population exist. After two years, the per capita GDP based on registered population will be abolished, said Li.

Li said that the terminology GDP will be adjusted to pinpoint specific areas. Regional GDP will be called regional gross product instead of the current "domestic gross product of the region"; local GDP will be called local gross product.

A document issused in 2003 said that the preliminary annual GDP estimates of each province, autonomous region or municipality in China should not be released before January 15 the next year; the estimates of quarterly GDP should not be released before the 10th day after the quarter; no monthly GDP estimates will be allowed to come out in the future.

Economy to grow above 7% in 2004

Li predicted that the country's economy will grow above 7 percent year-on-year in 2004.

The economy is expected to expand fairly fast in the first quarter, backed by continued investment growth, he said.

Consumer demand will be stronger and export growth is likely toslow down due to the change in the country's tax rebate policy andworldwide trade protectionism, he said.

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