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China Economy Profile 2013

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Economy - overviewSince the late 1970s China has moved from a closed, centrally planned system to a more market-oriented one that plays a major global role - in 2010 China became the world's largest exporter. Reforms began with the phasing out of collectivized agriculture, and expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased autonomy for state enterprises, creation of a diversified banking system, development of stock markets, rapid growth of the private sector, and opening to foreign trade and investment. China has implemented reforms in a gradualist fashion. In recent years, China has renewed its support for state-owned enterprises in sectors it considers important to "economic security," explicitly looking to foster globally competitive national champions. After keeping its currency tightly linked to the US dollar for years, in July 2005 China revalued its currency by 2.1% against the US dollar and moved to an exchange rate system that references a basket of currencies. From mid 2005 to late 2008 cumulative appreciation of the renminbi against the US dollar was more than 20%, but the exchange rate remained virtually pegged to the dollar from the onset of the global financial crisis until June 2010, when Beijing allowed resumption of a gradual appreciation. The restructuring of the economy and resulting efficiency gains have contributed to a more than tenfold increase in GDP since 1978. Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis that adjusts for price differences, China in 2012 stood as the second-largest economy in the world after the US, having surpassed Japan in 2001. The dollar values of China's agricultural and industrial output each exceed those of the US; China is second to the US in the value of services it produces. Still, per capita income is below the world average. The Chinese government faces numerous economic challenges, including: (a) reducing its high domestic savings rate and correspondingly low domestic demand; (b) sustaining adequate job growth for tens of millions of migrants and new entrants to the work force; (c) reducing corruption and other economic crimes; and (d) containing environmental damage and social strife related to the economy's rapid transformation. Economic development has progressed further in coastal provinces than in the interior, and by 2011 more than 250 million migrant workers and their dependents had relocated to urban areas to find work. One consequence of population control policy is that China is now one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world. Deterioration in the environment - notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table, especially in the North - is another long-term problem. China continues to lose arable land because of erosion and economic development. The Chinese government is seeking to add energy production capacity from sources other than coal and oil, focusing on nuclear and alternative energy development. In 2010-11, China faced high inflation resulting largely from its credit-fueled stimulus program. Some tightening measures appear to have controlled inflation, but GDP growth consequently slowed to under 8% for 2012. An economic slowdown in Europe contributed to China's, and is expected to further drag Chinese growth in 2013. Debt overhang from the stimulus program, particularly among local governments, and a property price bubble challenge policy makers currently. The government's 12th Five-Year Plan, adopted in March 2011, emphasizes continued economic reforms and the need to increase domestic consumption in order to make the economy less dependent on exports in the future. However, China has made only marginal progress toward these rebalancing goals.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$12.61 trillion (2012 est.)
$11.7 trillion (2011 est.)
$10.7 trillion (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2012 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$8.227 trillion
note: because China's exchange rate is determine by fiat, rather than by market forces, the official exchange rate measure of GDP is not an accurate measure of China's output; GDP at the official exchange rate substantially understates the actual level of China's output vis-a-vis the rest of the world; in China's situation, GDP at purchasing power parity provides the best measure for comparing output across countries (2012 est.)
GDP - real growth rate7.8% (2012 est.)
9.3% (2011 est.)
10.4% (2010 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$9,300 (2012 est.)
$8,700 (2011 est.)
$8,000 (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2012 US dollars
Gross national saving50.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
51.1% of GDP (2011 est.)
52.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 35.7%
government consumption: 13.5%
investment in fixed capital: 46.1%
investment in inventories: 2%
exports of goods and services: 26.9%
imports of goods and services: -24.1%
(2012 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 10.1%
industry: 45.3%
services: 44.6%
(2012 est.)
Population below poverty line13.4%
note: in 2011, China set a new poverty line at RMB 2300 (approximately US $3,630)
Labor force798.5 million
note: by the end of 2012, China's population at working age (15-64 years) was 1.0040 billion
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 34.8%
industry: 29.5%
services: 35.7%
(2011 est.)
Unemployment rate6.5% (2012 est.)
6.5% (2011 est.)
note: registered urban unemployment, which excludes private enterprises and migrants, was 4.1% in 2012
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 3.5%
highest 10%: 15%
note: data are for urban households only (2008)
Distribution of family income - Gini index47.4 (2012)
48.4 (2007)
Investment (gross fixed)46.1% of GDP (2012 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $1.857 trillion
expenditures: $1.992 trillion (2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues22.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-1.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
Public debt31.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
38.5% of GDP (2011)
note: official data; data cover both central government debt and local government debt, which China's National Audit Office estimated at RMB 10.72 trillion (approximately US$1.66 trillion) in 2011; data exclude policy bank bonds, Ministry of Railway debt, China Asset Management Company debt, and non-performing loans
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.6% (2012 est.)
5.5% (2011 est.)
Central bank discount rate2.25% (31 December 2012 est.)
2.25% (31 December 2011 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate6% (31 December 2012 est.)
6.56% (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of narrow money$4.907 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
$4.6 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of broad money$15.49 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
$13.52 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$12.81 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
$10.92 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$3.665 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
$3.408 trillion (31 December 2011)
$4.763 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)
Agriculture - productsworld leader in gross value of agricultural output; rice, wheat, potatoes, corn, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, apples, cotton, oilseed; pork; fish
Industriesworld leader in gross value of industrial output; mining and ore processing, iron, steel, aluminum, and other metals, coal; machine building; armaments; textiles and apparel; petroleum; cement; chemicals; fertilizers; consumer products, including footwear, toys, and electronics; food processing; transportation equipment, including automobiles, rail cars and locomotives, ships, and aircraft; telecommunications equipment, commercial space launch vehicles, satellites
Industrial production growth rate8.1% (2012 est.)
Current Account Balance$213.8 billion (2012 est.)
$201.7 billion (2011 est.)
Exports$2.057 trillion (2012 est.)
$1.812 trillion (2011 est.)
Exports - commoditieselectrical and other machinery, including data processing equipment, apparel, radio telephone handsets, textiles, integrated circuits
Exports - partnersUS 17.2%, Hong Kong 15.8%, Japan 7.4%, South Korea 4.3% (2012)
Imports$1.735 trillion (2012 est.)
$1.57 trillion (2011 est.)
Imports - commoditieselectrical and other machinery, oil and mineral fuels, optical and medical equipment, metal ores, motor vehicles
Imports - partnersJapan 9.8%, South Korea 9.2%, US 7.1%, Germany 5.1%, Australia 4.3% (2012)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$3.341 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
$3.213 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
Debt - external$770.8 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$685.4 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$1.344 trillion (31 December 2012 est.)
$1.232 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$502 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
$424.8 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
Exchange ratesRenminbi yuan (RMB) per US dollar -
6.3123 (2012 est.)
6.4615 (2011 est.)
6.7703 (2010 est.)
6.8314 (2009)
6.9385 (2008)
Fiscal yearcalendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
Unless otherwise noted, information in this page is accurate as of February 21, 2013