Thursday, October 9, 2014

Did China just overtake the US as the world's largest economy?

Upon first glance, it would appear so...
BI: Sorry, America. China just overtook the US to become the world's largest economy, according to the International Monetary Fund. Chris Giles at the Financial Times flagged up the change. He also alerted us in April that it was all about to happen. ...

So the IMF measures both GDP in market-exchange terms and in terms of purchasing power. On the purchasing-power basis, China is overtaking the US right about now and becoming the world's biggest economy.

It's not all sour news for the US, though...
It'll be some time yet until the lines cross over in raw terms, not adjusted for purchasing power. By that measure, China still sits more than $6.5 trillion lower than the US and isn't likely to overtake for quite some time:

Some even make the case that, no, they haven't actually surpassed us...they're playing with their numbers...
Quartz: Back in April, the World Bank shocked the world when it revealed that, based on the real cost of living, China’s economy will surpass the US to close out 2014 as the world’s biggest. The alarm came from the fact that economists expect China to seize the crown only in 2019 or thereabouts.

Well, cue the hand-wringing: It’s official. The IMF just updated the cost-of-living adjustment basis that it uses to forecast 2014 GDP (itself created by the World Bank). The new calculation shows China’s economy will total $17.6 trillion, a hair more than the US’s $17.4 trillion, reports FT Alphaville (registration required).

According to the Financial Times (paywall), this information should “revolutionize the picture of the world’s economic landscape” and “intensify arguments about control over global international organizations such as the World Bank and IMF.”

But that’s getting a little ahead of ourselves—especially since China overestimates its GDP.
That piece goes on to explain how they inflate it. However, the argument can easily be made that our own government, particularly under the current administration, has done more than it's fair share of playing the numbers game.

As we've seen with everything else, whatever is officially stated is usually what floats around the world. And the official word is China has surpassed us.

Another rung under the belt of Obama's fundamental transformation.

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