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Economy in Brief

China's Q2 GDP Tops Japan's For The Third Time
by Louise Curley   August 16, 2010

For the third time since December 2008 the seasonally unadjusted nominal gross domestic product of China has exceeded that of Japan as can be seen in the first chart. In the second quarter of this year, China reported GDP at $1337 billion and Japan reported $1287 billion. The two previous occasions when China reported a GDP larger than that for Japan were the fourth quarters of 2008 and 2009.

The comparison is made between the unadjusted data for both countries as the adjusted data are not available for China. The China data can be found in the Haver Data bases, EMERGE or EMERGEPR and the Japan data in G10. We have used G10 for Japan, rather than the JAPAN data base because the former reports national accounts in US dollars while the latter does not.

Although total Chinese GDP is gaining rapidly on that of Japan, per capita data show that China has a long way to go to approach the per capita GDP levels of Japan. In 2009. the latest year for which data are available, Japanese per capita GDP was almost $40,000 or more than ten times the $3,700 in China. The second chart shows per capita GDP for each country.

  Q2 10 Q1 10 Q4 09 Q3 09 Q2 09 Q1 09 Q4 08
GDP, (NAS, Bil US$)
 China 1337 1196 1602 1216 1147 1020 1420
 Japan 1287 1299 1393 1231 1215 1235 1354
  2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003
GDP PER CAPITA (US$)
 China 3678 3325 2617 2115 1761 1490 1275
 Japan 39754 38323 342811 34151 35731 36089 33206
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