China needs to improve economic data quality: IMF

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) called on Thursday for China to improve its economic data, especially on its growth rate, the subject of continued scepticism about its reliability.

The debate over the true strength of the Chinese economy has heated up in recent months on mounting signs of slowdown and heavy turmoil in the Chinese stock markets.

"It's important that China does continue to improve its data quality to reflect the fast-changing structure of its economy," said IMF spokesman Gerry Rice at a press briefing.

Rice welcomed China's "great progress" in modernising its statistics on gross domestic product (GDP), the broad measure of the economy's activity, bringing the methodology "largely in line with international practice."

"Like many countries, however, there's room for improvement," he added.

The Chinese government regularly reports growth in the world's second-largest economy at 7 per cent and above, a pace that some experts view as inflated.

All 188 member nations of the IMF are required to provide the Washington-based crisis lender with reliable economic data.

Argentina has been censured by the IMF since 2013 after the country failed to reform its long-distorted data on economic growth and consumer prices. The censure could result in the loss of its voting rights or membership at the institution.