Saturday, December 6, 2014

Is China really no. 1?

I just saw a news item in Yahoo Philippines claiming that China has now the biggest economy in the world.  This has taken me by surprise because, early this year, I checked the economic scoreboards and know for a fact that China is a distant No. 3 to the US (the EU is No. 1).  A sample excerpt from this news item is shown below:

'The International Monetary Fund recently released the latest numbers for the world economy. And when you measure national economic output in “real” terms of goods and services, China will this year produce $17.6 trillion - compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.A.'

So I made a quick Wiki and came up with the following:

Per IMF (2013 figures)

1. EU - $17.5T
2. US - $16.8T
3. China - $9.5T
4. Japan - $4.9T
12. ASEAN - $2.0T

Per World Bank (2013 figures)

1. EU - $17.4T
2. US - $16.8T
3. China - $9.2T
4. Japan - $4.9T
no data for ASEAN

So where did the discrepancy came from?  Apparently, the article used GDP figures based on PPP (Purchasing Power Parity).  Normally, national wealth is measured in terms of Nominal GDP figures, which has no adjustment for cost of living, but takes into account the value of economic output in international trade.

The release of the article to a primarily Philippine audience, therefore, is a little bit fishy to me.

Was this really meant to inform Mr. Average Filipino?...

Or was this a subtle psy-war move to erode our national will to resist Beijing's imperialist moves in the West Philippine Sea?...

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