India, China lag in economic well-being, living standards: ADB


Manila : Economic powerhouses China and India are lagging behind other Asia-Pacific countries in terms of economic well-being and living standards of their population, according to a study released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Tuesday.

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According to the bank's International Comparison Programme in Asia and the Pacific: Purchasing Power Parity Preliminary Report, China and India account for 64 percent of total real gross domestic product of 23 economies in the region.

"However, a completely different picture emerges if the size of these economies is adjusted by population," the Manila-based ADB said in a statement.

"Rather than dominating the rankings, China and India drop to 10th and 18th positions, respectively, out of the 23 economies participating in the full GDP comparison," it added.

China ranked 15th and India 17th when economies were compared based on "actual final consumption of households (AFCH), a better measure of economic well-being of the population," the ADB said.

The AFCH is a measure of what households actually consume, comprising of what they purchase and what they are supplied for individual use by the government, principally education and health, the bank said.

The economic well-being of the population is obtained by comparing household consumption expenditure per capita, it added.

According to the report, the top five economies are Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Brunei and Macau, while the bottom five are Nepal, Bangladesh, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Purchasing Power Parities (PPP) was popularised by the Economist's Big Mac Index, which prices hamburgers in global cities for a quick and crude comparison of living standards.

The ADB said the ICP was more comprehensive as it covered a broader range of commodities.

Based on the price level index, or the ratio of PPP to the exchange rate, Fiji Islands and Hong Kong were the two costliest places to live in, followed by Macau, Singapore and Taiwan, the report said.

The cheapest places were Laos, Vietnam, Iran, Cambodia and Nepal, it added.

"The results provide the most comparable information on breakdown of GDP expenditures across the Asia-Pacific," ADB chief economist Ifzal Ali said. "Purchasing power parities are a more appropriate currency converter to compare living standards than market exchange rates."