China is among the world’s leading economies, with the country’s gross domestic product second only to that of the United States as of 2023. The country of over 1.41 billion people has a bigger economy than the European Union and holds more foreign exchange reserves than any other country.
After opening up its economy following the 1978 economic reforms, China saw unprecedented growth across key sectors, including services, manufacturing and agriculture. In fact, China is a global leader in the exports and imports market.
These and more are some of the most interesting facts and statistics about the Chinese economy. In this article, we highlight the top 30+ stats.
China economy statistics – Editor’s Pick
- GDP stood at over 120 trillion yuan (roughly $17.4 trillion) in 2022, the second-largest in the world.
- The Centre for Economics and Business Research projects China’s economy will surpass that of the United States by 2028.
- China has the largest foreign-exchange reserves in the world, worth over 21.4 trillion yuan or $3.1 trillion as of January 2023.
- Agriculture contributed to 7.9% of the GDP in 2022, the third-largest sector behind services and industry with 51% and 40% respectively.
- Investment accounts for 42% of and consumption 39% of China’s GDP.
- China’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) is forecast to average 2.5% in 2023.
China economy- an overview
1. China is the world’s second largest economy by nominal GDP
The Chinese economy is the world’s second largest by nominal GDP. 2022 estimates have the country’s GDP at over 120 trillion yuan ($17.4 trillion). This is an increase of over 5 trillion yuan on the 2021 GDP – despite China’s economy facing multiple snags in 2022 amid the global slowdown and a domestic COVID-19 situation. China’s GDP in 2021 was approximately 115 trillion Chinese yuan, or about $16.8 trillion.
2. China is the world’s largest economy by Purchasing Power Parity with $30.07 trillion
China’s economy is the world’s largest in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). As of 2022, the country’s GDP (PPP) was $30.07 trillion, up from $27.3 trillion in 2021. In comparison, the United States’ PPP stood at $25.04 trillion in 2022. China has been the world’s largest economy by PPP since 2016.
3. China overtook the European Union as the world’s second largest economy in 2021
China recently surpassed the European Union in terms of the size of its economy.
4. With a GDP per capita of $12,970 in 2022, China ranked 69th globally
The gross domestic product for China in 2022 was $12,970 – which leaves the country in the upper-middle income category according to the revised World Bank figures for 2023. China ranks 69th as per a global ranking of GDP per capita. The country’s GDP per capita at purchasing power parity (2022) was $21,291.
5. Services accounts for more than 51% of China’s GDP by sector
More than half of China’s output in 2022 came from the services, with data showing the sector contributed to over 51% of the GDP.
6. Industry accounts for 40% of GDP, but is shrinking amid China’s push for a consumer-spending economy
The industry sector (manufacturing, mining and construction) accounted for over 40%.However, despite being the second-largest by percentage share, the sector has seen its slice of GDP decline from nearly 46% in the past decade as China increasingly looks to boost domestic consumer spending.
7. Agriculture represents 7.9% of GDP, the third-largest sector
Although not as huge as services and industry, agriculture accounts for the third-largest share of China’s gross domestic output. In 2022, the sector represented 7.9% of GDP with the country a leading producer of corn, rice, wheat, and soy among other agricultural goods.
8. Household consumption and investment accounts for over 80% of China’s GDP
The Chinese economy had 39% in household consumption and over 42% in investment in fixed capital. Together, the components represented more than 80% of GDP, with exports, imports and government expenditure at 20%, 18% and 14% respectively as of 2022.
9. China’s imports market is worth 17.94 trillion yuan, or $2.6 trillion
According to the latest economic data on global imports, China’s imports market was worth over 17.94 trillion yuan. That’s approximately $2.6 trillion.
10. Manufacturers account for nearly three quarters of China’s exports
China’s export market was worth $3.4 trillion in 2022, with manufacturers accounting for the biggest market share with nearly 75%. The fuels and mining industry and agricultural products represented the second and third largest share of exports.
11. The United States is China’s largest export partner
As of 2022, both the European Union and the United States had seen a reduction in the value of exports from China. However, despite the not-so rosy trade relationship amid the Russia-Ukraine war, the US remained the largest export market for Chinese goods, with over 16% of the market. Russia saw a jump in Chinese exports into the country at nearly 3% in 2022.
12. The European Union and ASEAN are China’s main imports partners in a $2.6 trillion market
China’s main import partners as of 2022 were the European Union and ASEAN countries, both accounting for over 12% of imports. South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the United States rank as the largest single import partners for China’s $2.6 trillion import market.
Chinese economy- government revenue and expenditure
13. China’s fiscal revenue declined 6.6% in first 9 months of 2022
China’s fiscal revenue during the first nine months of 2022 was 15.3 trillion (approximately $2.13 trillion), which was 6.6% down on collections in the corresponding period a year earlier. At the same time, fiscal spending jumped 6.2% to about 19 trillion yuan ($2.75 trillion).
14. Budget balance in China projected to increase 1.8% between 2022 and 2027
China will see its budget balance/GDP growth at -7.17% in 2023 and continue the trajectory with -7.08% in 2027. Overall, China’s budget balance is projected to increase 1.8% by 2027.
15. China’s national deficit ballooned to nearly $1 trillion in 2022
The Chinese government’s expenditure rose sharply in the first 10 months of 2022, growing to nearly a record $1 trillion. Data showed expenditure exceeded national revenue by 7.16 trillion yuan ($980 billion). The Covid-19 outbreaks and a slump in the housing market contributed to the shrinking government income.
16. China has the largest foreign-exchange reserves in the world, worth over 21.4 trillion yuan or $3.1 trillion
According to official Foreign Exchange data from China, the total foreign reserves were over $3.1 trillion as of November 2022. The statistic means China continues to have the world’s largest foreign-exchange reserves, ahead of Japan and Switzerland.
17. Foreign reserves in China makes up 7.8% of GDP
The foreign exchange reserves as a percentage of China’s GDP was reported at 7.8% as of December 2022, down from 8.1% in November.
18. China has the sixth-largest gold reserves in the world
China’s Gold reserves were estimated at 1948.31 tonnes by the end of 2022. According to the latest global figures, China is fourth on the list of countries with the most gold reserves behind the United States, Germany, Italy, France, and Russia.
19. Public debt amounted to 78% of GDP as of 2022
The public debt in China saw a negative increase in 2022, amounting to 78% of GDP. According to Statista, the Chinese government’s debt to GDP ratio will likely rise 83% by 2027 – from 90.3 trillion yuan ($13.1 trillion) to 166.3 trillion yuan ($24.1 trillion).
China: economic growth and forecasts for 2023 and beyond
20. In September 2022, the World Bank expected China’s economic growth to lag that of Asia for the first time in 30 years
The World Bank’s forecast of China’s GDP growth in 2022 of 2.8% was below that of 5.3% for the broader East Asia region. The last time China’s GDP growth was below that of its neighbours was in 1990.
21. China’s GDP growth rate is forecast at 4.3% in 2023
Economic growth slowed sharply in 2022 to 2.8% from 8.1% in 2021. However, with China’s economy set to benefit from a shift in COVID-19 policies, experts see the economy recovering to 4.3% in 2023. A further 4.1% annual growth rate is expected in 2024.
22. China forecast to become the world’s largest economy in nominal GDP by 2028
China is projected to overtake the US and become the world’s largest economy by 2028. According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, the bounce from the pandemic hit puts China on the path to overtaking the US in terms of GDP five years earlier than previously forecast.
23. PwC forecast’s China’s GDP growth will outperform the global average in 2023
Already an economic powerhouse, China’s GDP is set to outperform the global growth rate in 2023, according to a recent forecast by PwC China. The OECD expects the global GDP will increase by around 2.2% in 2023, compared to 3.1% in 2022. In comparison, the World Bank forecasts the country’s GDP could grow by more than 4.3% in 2023.
24. China’s share of global GDP at PPP forecast to be 20% of global economy by 2027
China’s percentage share of the global gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to increase marginally over the next five years. According to estimates by Statista, China’s GDP when adjusted for PPP will increase from 18.79% in 2022 to 19.92% in 2027. PwC’s projections see China at this milestone in 2050.
Inflation in China
25. The consumer price inflation is forecast to average 2.5% in 2023
According to estimates by a panel of economists at the Asian Development Bank, China’s consumer price inflation is set to average roughly 2.4% in 2023. The forecast for 2024 is 2.2%.
26. China’s Producer Price Inflation will average 0.5% in 2023
It is estimated that China’s Producer Price Index (PPI) growth rate will average around 0.5% in 2023. As per the latest forecast for the inflation measure, PPI will average 1.3% in 2024.
27. A crisis in China’s property market saw almost 33% of all property loans deemed bad debt
Data from the Chinese housing sector showed that the recent crisis pushed home prices across 70 cities down 1.3% in August 2022. The decline impacted property loans, with nearly a third of these classified as bad debt.
28. China’s central bank kept the prime rate at 3.65% over the last four months of 2022
China’s central bank has held the country’s benchmark prime rate (1-year loan) at 3.65% since august 2022. The bank also expects the consumer prices to remain moderate throughout 2023.
29. The core CPI has averaged 1.4% from 2006 to 2022
In China, core CPI – which excludes prices of food and energy – has averaged about 1.4% since 2006. The core CPI grew a record 2.8% year on year in 2022 and saw an all-time low of -1.6% in 2009.
30. China’s CPI rose in 2.8% in September 2022, the fastest pace since April 2020
China’s consumer prices increased the most in two years in September 2022, with CPI rolling to 2.8% year-on-year. This was the fastest pace for consumer prices since April 2020 when the metric rose 3.3%. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the inflation pace was due partly to rising pork prices.
31. Inflation rate in China expected to average 2% from 2025-2027
While the average inflation rate in China is projected to increase 2.5% in 2023, Statista outlines a possible 2% inflation rate between 2025 and 2027.
32. Unemployment rate in China is expected to drop to 3.6% by 2027, with 4.1% in 2023 and 3.9% in 2024
The rate of unemployment in China’s urban areas is estimated at 4.2% in 2022. According to latest statistical estimates, the registered unemployment rate will reach 4.1% in 2023, and 3.9% in 2024. Urban unemployment will be at 3.6% by 2027.
China economic outlook – Conclusion
Chinese authorities have signalled a gradual relaxation of the zero-COVID policy as they look to re-open the economy. The measures outlined towards the end of 2022 are likely to boost China’s economic outlook in 2023, with growth projections for GDP.
Going into 2023, the economic outlook for China is therefore largely positive amid a supportive monetary policy from the central bank.
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