Monday, August 16, 2010

China Might Be #2 by GDP, but It Ranks #99 for Per-Capita GDP Behind Jamaica, Belize and Namibia

According to a Bloomberg story today, "China surpassed Japan as the world’s second-largest economy last quarter, capping the nation’s three- decade rise from Communist isolation to emerging superpower. The country of 1.3 billion people will overtake the U.S., where annual GDP is about $14 trillion, as the world’s largest economy by 2027."

Adjusting for GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) on a per-capita basis, China (at $6,567) has a long way to go before it achieves "superpower" status, considering that it ranks #102 according to the CIA, #99 according to the IMF, and #92 according to the World Bank.  In fact, on a per-capita basis in 2009, China ranked behind Namibia, Jamaica, Belize, Thailand, El Salvador, and Albania.  And the last time the U.S. had per-capita GDP of $6,567 was back in 1932.

HT: Gene Hayward

11 Comments:

At 8/16/2010 10:26 PM, Blogger Colin said...

Namimbia and Jamacia, eh?

 
At 8/16/2010 10:53 PM, Blogger Evil Red Scandi said...

Yeah, but progressives, socialists, and other neoliberals get all hot and bothered when they see big numbers associated with command economies. Whether those numbers have any real-world relevance (or even whether or not they're completely made up) is of little matter.

 
At 8/16/2010 10:55 PM, Blogger Irrippi said...

Exactly. This was just another bogus headliner.

China's income inequality is greater than the US. They have many billionaires and hundreds of millions of people living in poverty.

The true extent of Chinese poverty and unemployment is unknown because so many people are uncounted and you can't trust any numbers coming from that government.

 
At 8/17/2010 3:38 AM, Blogger niknaknoo said...

Is it worth considering that the Remnibi is massively undervalued, and the dollar is currently overvalued? If the Chinese government allow the Remnibi to appreciate against the dollar the purchasing power of Chinese citizens will increase dramatically.

 
At 8/17/2010 6:49 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Adjusting for GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) on a per-capita basis, China (at $6,567) has a long way to go before it achieves "superpower" status"...

Well now maybe so...

Consider a couple of stories from the Business Insider and Bloomberg...

Foreign Investment Dollars Blow-Off China's Soaring Wages And Worker Suicides

'Despite concern in regards to rampant Chinese wage inflation and emerging labor unrest, international companies continue to invest substantial amounts of additional money into Chinese operations.

China's Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rose 29% year over year in July according to the Chinese commerce ministry
'...

From Bloomberg: China Cuts Long-Term Treasuries By Most Ever as Yields Drop

'The Asian nation’s holdings of long-term Treasuries fell by $21.2 billion in June to $839.7 billion, a U.S. government report showed yesterday. Total Chinese investment in U.S. debt declined 2.8 percent to $843.7 billion, the least in a year, following a 3.6 percent slide in May.

China, America’s largest creditor, is cutting back after scrapping its currency peg in June, giving it less reason to buy dollars and invest them in Treasuries. China is also turning more bullish on Europe and Japan, purchasing bonds of both nations. The shift comes as President Barack Obama increases U.S. debt to record levels, counting on overseas investors to buy, as he borrows to sustain the U.S. economic expansion
'...

Now what this sounds like to me is that for all of China's myriad problems there is still lots of faith in the growth of the Chinese economy and maybe, just maybe that #99 ranking could change rather rapidly...

 
At 8/17/2010 8:06 AM, Blogger rjs said...

if they're so poor, who's buying all those buicks?

 
At 8/17/2010 8:11 AM, Blogger fboness said...

A few Chinese are buying Buicks.

 
At 8/17/2010 8:46 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"A few Chinese are buying Buicks"...

Hmmm, interesting comment fboness...

You might find this interesting, its from China Auto Web:

July's Best Selling Sedans and SUVs

 
At 8/17/2010 9:46 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

i'd be really interested to see an analysis of china broken down by income level and size.

in assessing china as a market, it seems to me that what you would want to know is how many people have income over say $8000 or $20,000/$50000.

how big is the chinese middle class (by world standards) relative to that of the US?

that's what will drive demand for western goods.

of interest, china has a gini coefficient which is statistically indistinguishable from that of the US using CIA numbers, but is actually much higher using the UN number.

 
At 8/17/2010 12:39 PM, Blogger RealityZone said...

China's middle class is around 20%. In ten years their middle class will be 40%. What will be America's % in ten years.
Especially considering we will be in a lost decade or two.

The GDP number comparisons are passe.
What was America's GDP after the Revolutionary war?
What was our GDP after the Uncivil war?
What is the GDP OF China's major cities.
Lets compare those to ours.

 
At 8/18/2010 1:08 PM, Blogger Ke said...

Since when was "superpower status" ever dependent on GDP per capita? Speaking of income inequality, that gap is narrowing in China while it is exponentially getting worse in the U.S.

China is actually underreporting their wealth by hiding off-the-book savings, suppressing the RMB to the dollar, CLAIMING poverty, and deferring "superpower" responsibilities to countries like the U.S. China has already overtaken Japan. When China does overtake the U.S., you guys will still pretend it never happen and continue to pat yourselves on the back because we have a higher GDP per capita, which measures the average and has absolutely nothing to do with the "superpower status" of a country.

 

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