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Looking behind China’s GDP curtain

The country’s new GDP report states that the economy grew by nearly 7 per cent last year—but can we trust the figure?

By George Magnus  

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Li Xueren/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Last week the Office for National Statistics reported that it has over several years underestimated the fall in prices in the telecommunications sector, the implications of which, including for GDP, are significant. Credit to the ONS for admitting its errors and making amends. Contrast this, though, with China’s systematic exaggeration and manicuring of its own GDP figures, which matters because of the country’s significance in the world economy and for key markets.

In the last few weeks, a handful…

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