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    China Economy - 1991

      Overview: Beginning in late 1978 the Chinese leadership has been trying to move the economy from the sluggish Soviet-style centrally planned economy to a more productive and flexible economy with market elements--but still within the framework of monolithic Communist control. To this end the authorities have switched to a system of household responsibility in agriculture in place of the old collectivization, increased the authority of local officials and plant managers in industry, permitted a wide variety of small-scale enterprise in services and light manufacturing, and opened the foreign economic sector to increased trade and joint ventures. The most gratifying result has been a strong spurt in production, particularly in agriculture in the early 1980s. Otherwise, the leadership has often experienced in its hybrid system the worst results of socialism (bureaucracy, lassitude, corruption) and of capitalism (windfall gains and stepped-up inflation). Beijing thus has periodically backtracked, retightening central controls at intervals and thereby undermining the credibility of the reform process. Popular resistance and changes in central policy have weakened China's population control program, which is essential to the nation's long-term economic viability.

      GNP: $413 billion (1989 est.), per capita $370 (World Bank est.); real growth rate 5% (1990)

      Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.1% (1990)

      Unemployment rate: 2.6% in urban areas (1990)

      Budget: revenues $NA; expenditures $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA

      Exports: $62.1 billion (f.o.b., 1990); commodities--textiles, garments, telecommunications and recording equipment, petroleum, minerals; partners--Hong Kong, US, Japan, USSR, Singapore, FRG (1989)

      Imports: $53.4 billion (c.i.f., 1990); commodities--specialized industrial machinery, chemicals, manufactured goods, steel, textile yarn, fertilizer; partners--Hong Kong, Japan, US, FRG, USSR (1989)

      External debt: $51 billion (1990 est.)

      Industrial production: growth rate 7.6% (1990); accounts for 45% of GNP

      Electricity: 117,580,000 kW capacity; 585,000 million kWh produced, 520 kWh per capita (1990)

      Industries: iron, steel, coal, machine building, armaments, textiles, petroleum, cement, chemical fertilizers, consumer durables, food processing

      Agriculture: accounts for 26% of GNP; among the world's largest producers of rice, potatoes, sorghum, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, and pork; commercial crops include cotton, other fibers, and oilseeds; produces variety of livestock products; basically self-sufficient in food; fish catch of 8 million metric tons in 1986

      Economic aid: donor--to less developed countries (1970-89) $7.0 billion; US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-87), $220.7 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $13.5 billion

      Currency: yuan (plural--yuan); 1 yuan (3) = 10 jiao

      Exchange rates: yuan (3) per US$1--5.31 (April 1991), 4.7832 (1990), 3.7651 (1989), 3.7221 (1988), 3.7221 (1987), 3.4528 (1986), 2.9367 (1985)

      Fiscal year: calendar year

      NOTE: The information regarding China on this page is re-published from the 1991 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of China Economy 1991 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about China Economy 1991 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 08-Feb-03
    Copyright © 2003 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)