CHINA / National

China now 4th largest economy -WB
(China Daily/Agencies)
Updated: 2006-07-04 06:02

China has squeaked past Britain by the tiniest of margins to become the world's fourth-largest economy, according to the World Bank's latest calculations.

The World Bank said that by its official measure China produced US$2.263825 trillion in output in 2005, just US$94 million, or 0.004 per cent, more than Britain.

China comfortably overtook Britain last year based on each country's gross domestic product converted into US dollars at current exchange rates.

But the World Bank's widely watched ranking measures gross national income converted into dollars using the "Atlas" method of currency conversion, which smoothes out exchange rate fluctuations by using a three-year average.

Gross national income comprises gross domestic product plus net inflows of income such as rents, profits and salaries from abroad.

The United States, Japan and Germany remain the world's first-, second- and third-largest economies respectively, according to the bank, which posted its 2005 rankings on its website over the weekend.

"In terms of quality, there is still a whopping gap between China's economy and Britain's and those of developed countries as a whole," said Han Meng, an economist with the Institute of Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"We should remain cool-headed and be aware that there is tremendous room for China to improve in its economic growth model and structure," he said.

He noted that in areas such as technological prowess, management expertise, industrialization and urbanization, China is still playing catch up with other developed countries.

Li Yongsen, an economist with the Renmin University of China, said that in per capita term, China is still years away from Britain and other developed countries.

"We should pay more attention to economic growth quality, making sure that this breakneck growth does not come at the expense of energy and the environment," he said.
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