Local govts reduce 2014 GDP targets

By Song Shengxia Source:Global Times Published: 2014-2-16 23:08:02

Most local governments on the Chinese mainland have cut economic growth targets this year amid a slowing economy to focus on quality and efficiency, recent data released at local legislative sessions showed.

Among the 31 provinces, regions and municipalities across the country, 22 local governments have lowered their GDP targets this year while seven local governments have kept the target the same as last year, according to statistics published Sunday by the website of People's Daily, a flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China.

Only Northeast China's Heilongjiang and South China's Hainan provinces raised their GDP target this year ­moderately by 0.5 percentage points and 0.1 percentage points respectively, the statistics showed.

"With the economy continuing to slow down in 2013, local governments are more clearly aware that the days of high economic growth have long gone and were thus more rational in setting their economic targets for 2014," Li Huiyong, chief economist at Shenyin & Wanguo Securities in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Sunday.

"The key meetings concluded at the end of last year also sent clear messages that the central government would tolerate slower growth to focus on restructuring," Li said. 

Among all those which have downgraded their GDP targets, North China's Tianjin cut the most by 1.5 percentage points.

Tianjin, together with Southwest China's Guizhou Province and the Tibet Autonomous ­Region, posted the nation's highest economic growth of 12.5 percent in 2013.

"Tianjin has maintained a higher economic growth during the past few years thanks to the development of Binhai New Area which serves as a new growth engine for the city," Zhang Yongjun, a research fellow at the China Center for International Economic ­Exchanges, a Beijing-based think tank, told the Global Times Sunday.

The capital city Beijing and financial hub Shanghai both cut their target by 0.2 percentage points to keep it at 7.5 percent for the year, the lowest target for local governments.

"Overall, the potential growth of local areas especially those in eastern China have slowed," Zhang said.

China's GDP grew 7.7 percent in 2013, surpassing the official target of 7.5 percent but lower than the annual growth target of 8 percent between 2005 and 2011. The official target for 2012 was 7.5 percent.

The government is due to announce its 2014 growth target at the annual conference of the national legislative and consultative bodies in March.

Economists and research institutes widely expect the target to be set at 7 percent or 7.5 percent as the government shifts its focus on a more sustainable growth model.

According to new standards for assessing local officials ­released in December, the level of government debt and the environment will be key indicators for evaluating the performance of local officials instead of only GDP growth.

Posted in: Economy

blog comments powered by Disqus