(CNN) -- China appears on track to pass Japan and become the world's second-largest economy after the United States, figures released Monday showed.
Japan's gross domestic product, or GDP, totaled $1.29 trillion for the three months ending in June, the nation's Cabinet Office announced. China's official figure for the same period was $1.34 trillion.
GDP is a broad measure of a country's economic output.
Economist Frederic Neumann at HSBC in Hong Kong said China is forecast to overtake Japan by the end of the year, noting official annual figures won't come until early 2011.
Another analyst says the whole matter is academic in any case.
"Basically, China's underlying growth rate is going to be about 8 percent over the next decade. Japan's underlying is going to be about 1 percent," said Jesper Koll, an economist with JPMorgan in Tokyo. "In 10 year's time, the Chinese economy will be twice the size of the Japanese economy."
For 2009, the International Monetary Fund listed the United States as the world's largest economy at $14.26 trillion, followed by Japan at $5.07 trillion and China at $4.91 trillion.