Chinese reports slow growth rates

BEIJING: In a disquieting news for the slowing down Chinese economy, all of China’s 31 provinces reported lower than expected local GDP growth in the first half of this year, with regions reliant on heavy industry suffering the biggest blow amid economic restructuring and a cut to industrial overcapacity.

So far China’s 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions had released local GDP growth rates for the first six months of the year.

Of which 22 of them had GDP growth higher than 7.4 per cent, the nation’s overall half-year growth rate with only six was economic performance above 10 per cent compared with the same period last year when up to 15 areas reported growth higher than 10 per cent.

China’s over all GDP is hovering 7.5 per cent far from the double digit growth rates few years ago.

With mainly inland areas in the west leading the growth chart, traditional industrial provinces such as Shanxi and Hebei rank near the bottom, with Northeast China’s Heilongjiang witnessing the slowest growth, at 4.8 per cent, far short of its annual target of 8.5 per cent, state-run Global Times reported.

It is not surprising to see that local governments failed to meet these over-optimistic targets, Tian Yun, an economist told the daily.

The 2014 targets, when set by local governments, were already adjusted to be lower than last year considering downturn pressures.

Yet slowing provincial growth is normal amid China’s efforts to restructure its economy and attach more importance to the quality of economic development rather than speed.

Most parts of eastern China saw a GDP growth rate of around 7 per cent, with 7.1 per cent for Shanghai and Beijing reported 7.2 per cent.

Considering the large base data of East China, a growth rate around 7 per cent is quite satisfactory, Chen Hufei, a researcher with the Bank of Communications said.

East China is going through industrial restructuring and upgrading while manufacturing industries are moving from the eastern and coastal regions to central and western areas, driving up economic growth there, Chen said.

Several regions in Central and West China led the growth rankings.

In Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality, the economic growth rate is 10.9 per cent, second only to the Tibet Autonomous Region.

At a recent Cabinet meeting, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said local governments in Northeast China must deepen reform, expand opening-up and be more innovative.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission also said Monday that in the second half of this year, it will take more targeted measures to reverse the economic downturn in Northeast China.