China’s economy expanded by a staggering 9.8 percent in the fourth quarter and 10.3 percent for all of 2010, data released today indicate. The news that China has apparently surpassed Japan as the world’s second-largest economy came in the middle of Chinese President Hu Jintao’s state visit to Washington.
The growth was higher than expected, given the tightening measures adopted recently by Beijing. The acceleration will likely add to the pressure on policymakers to head off inflation and contribute to market concerns over China’s ability to manage growth.
China reportedly eclipsed Japan’s GDP in the second quarter of 2010, but the numbers had to be confirmed with full-year figures. The director of China’s National Bureau of Statistics, Ma Jiantang, said in Beijing today that the comparison relies in part on purchasing-power-parity adjustments that can boost the GDP figures of developing countries, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
Japan, which had been the second-largest economy since 1968, will report year-end economic data in February. Ma said that China’s GDP per capita falls significantly behind Japan’s.
The 10.3 percent yearly growth for China put its GDP at $5.88 trillion. The International Monetary Fund projected in October that U.S. GDP will top 14.62 trillion for the year, though the United States is struggling to boost growth in the midst of a glacially slow economic recovery.
Hu will speak today to the U.S.-China Business Council, where he will likely be well received.