China revises up 2013 GDP - won't affect growth this year

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has revised up the estimated size of its economy for 2013 by 3.4 per cent to 58.8 trillion yuan ($12.37 trillion), the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday, but said the revision will not affect economic growth this year.

That marks an increase of 1.9 trillion yuan in the size of the Chinese economy that year, slightly below the entire gross domestic product of Malaysia during the same period, according to World Bank statistics.

The increase was mainly due to an upward revision of contribution from the services sector.

Services accounted for 46.9 per cent of 2013 GDP, up from an initial estimate of 46.1 per cent, while the secondary sector - which includes manufacturing and construction - accounted for 43.7 per cent of GDP, down from 43.9 per cent.

China has been trying to improve its statistical system amid widespread scepticism about the reliability of its data.

The statistics bureau said it was still revising the historical GDP data series, which could show revised economic growth for 2013 and previous years.

"The revision of 2013 GDP could affect the size of 2014 GDP but will basically not affect GDP growth for 2014," the bureau said in a statement.

Some analysts had previously expected the GDP revision to make it easier for the government to meet its growth target of around 7.5 per cent in 2014.

China's economic growth weakened to 7.3 per cent in the third quarter, and November's soft factory and investment figures suggest full-year growth will miss Beijing's 7.5 per cent target and mark the weakest expansion in 24 years.

The revised figure follows a new economic census, in which the bureau changed its methodology. But it did not say it had added research and development (R&D) spending into GDP or revised the way it calculates the value of "housing services"that homes provide to their owners, as some economists reports had predicted it would.

R&D spending, which is around 2 per cent of GDP, is officially classified as a business cost, not investment, in China. In 2013, the United States revised the way it calculated gross domestic product to include R&D spending.

The third economic census, which was published earlier this week, showed that the services sector had expanded at a faster clip than the manufacturing sector between 2009 and 2013.

The past two censuses led to a 16.8 per cent revision to 2004 GDP size and a 4.4 per cent increase in 2008.