September 15, 2016 / 10:46 AM / 2 years ago

Japan's nominal GDP seen boosted by new base-year calculations

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan may revise up gross domestic product data when it adopts a new base year in calculating figures from later this year, officials said, likely a boon to its ambitious aim of expanding nominal GDP to 600 trillion yen ($5.86 trillion) in 2020.

Businessmen are seen at a business district in Tokyo, Japan, September 14, 2016. Picture taken September 14, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Under the current calculation, the world’s third-largest economy expects nominal GDP of 582.7 trillion yen in fiscal 2020 even assuming ambitious real growth of 2 percent and nominal growth 3 percent - versus the current level of about 500 trillion yen.

An expected upward revision would likely bring the level of nominal GDP closer to 600 trillion yen.

Calculations by the Cabinet Office showed on Thursday that the base-year change to 2011 from 2005 likely boosted the value of nominal GDP by 4.2 percent, or 19.8 trillion yen in 2011.

Cabinet Office officials said a boost from the revised calculations to nominal GDP may vary from year to year but won’t fluctuate greatly from the estimated increase in 2011.

The new base year will be applied to GDP data going back to 1994 when revised figures for the current quarter is out on Dec. 8.

Upward revision is due to implementation of new standards for the System of National Accounts (SNA), a unified and internationally comparable framework used to compile GDP data.

Most OECD countries have implemented the new standards, which were adopted by the United Nations in 2009, leading many countries to revise GDP estimates upwards, according to the OECD.

The changes in the international standards have a big impact on the capital expenditures component of GDP, which newly include spending on research and development and weapons systems such as warships and submarines in gross fixed investments.

The revision raises the level of GDP across time, but the impact on GDP growth rates will be small, the officials said.

Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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