World Bank delays new Purchasing Power Parity GDP statistics and international comparisons until March 4-7, 2014

The 2011 round of the International Comparison Program (ICP) results will include ICP 2011 benchmark PPPs (purchasing power parity) and related volume measures for 199 participating countries/economies.

Given the complex nature of the ICP and the fact that it has become the largest worldwide statistical operation, the program decided that the December release will be postponed until March 2014.

The March 2014 release of the results will coincide with the 45th session of the United Nations Statistical Commission, which will be held March 4-7, 2014. The final report of the ICP 2011 will be released in April 2014, and will provide an in-depth analysis of volume and per capita measures and include information such as the country survey coverage.

These are important numbers because purchasing power parity numbers are used for calculating and comparing poverty levels and factors into how much foreign aid a country gets.

The 2011 data release is important because it is expected to correct the 2005 numbers where China and India had understated purchasing power because the prices of large cities were used across the entire countries. This ignored the fact that things are much cheaper in rural areas and small cities. This is like assuming that everything in the USA is as expensive as living in Manhattan. China and India will probably get 25-45% jump in GDP purchasing power parity to reverse the 2005 downward adjustment.

In other GDP news, China will be trying to unify and standardize the GDP calculations at the local, regional and national level. Some might consider it an exercise in getting their lies straight.

I think there is up to about 5% inaccuracies in China’s statistics for what they are designed to count but there are many critics who are far more critical of China’s GDP numbers.I believe that China’s numbers are understated by not capturing about 15% of the economy that is the underground economy. Bribes and other hidden income.

Some have suggested that China should drop its practice of setting annual GDP targets. GDP growth and commitment to raising per capita income have become a central political aspect of China over the last 35 years.

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