Local GDP growth targets show China’s official goal could be above 5%
Published: Jan 06, 2022 07:32 PM
Work begins on the Tongling Yangtze River Bridge on January 4, 2022. The 11-kilometer span will allow high-speed trains, intercity trains and freight trains to go across the river. Over 150 bridges have been built across the Yangtze, according to a report in August 2021. Photo: VCG

Work begins on the Tongling Yangtze River Bridge on January 4, 2022. Photo: VCG

China's official economic growth target is expected to be set above 5 percent in 2022, analysts told the Global Times on Thursday, as the country enters the local "two sessions" season, when local GDP growth targets are usually announced. 

Beijing and Central China's Henan Province became the latest to start their annual meetings since Wednesday. Southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region kicked off its meetings on Monday. 

Local "two sessions," the annual meetings of provincial-level lawmakers and political advisors, discuss local economic and social development over the past year and make plans for the year to come.

The local "two sessions," held prior to the national meetings scheduled for early March, are deemed as an important window to gauge the direction of China's economic and social development planning in the coming year.

Beijing aims to achieve a GDP growth of above 5 percent in 2022 and a 4-percent growth in public budget revenues, according to the municipal government work report delivered by Mayor Chen Jining at the ongoing fifth session of the 15th Beijing Municipal People's Congress on Thursday.

"Based on the target set by such cities as Beijing and Shanghai, where the GDP per capita rates are double the national level, and which take the lead in entering the nation's post-industrial phase, the national GDP growth target this year is likely to be above 5 percent, as other provinces and municipalities still have large room to grow," said Tian Yun, former vice director of the Beijing Economic Operation Association.

"This year's target setting will maintain the bottom-line mindset, which is also in line with the emphasis on stability during the 2021 annual Central Economic Work Conference," Tian told the Global Times on Thursday.

A 5 percent growth is well below what China has achieved in recent years, when the economy has been developing at a very rapid pace, leading to hype by some Western media outlets about China's economic slowdown.

"But we need to know is that both the external and internal environments have greatly changed - more uncertainties lie ahead and possibly the resurgence of infections. Taking a dynamic view, a 5-percent growth target already proves the resilience and stability of the world's second-largest economy," Tian said.

Japanese investment bank Nomura forecast that China's economy will grow by 4.3 percent in 2022 compared with India's 8.5 percent.

"I have to say the comparison makes no sense. We acknowledge that the dynamic-zero virus control strategy requires some economic costs in the short term, but it has proven effective in curbing all previous resurgences, which could guarantee the country's long-term development," Tian noted.

Economists and institutions generally expect China's economy to grow by about 5 percent in 2022. The World Bank estimated a growth of 5.1 percent, Deutsche Bank about 5 percent, and Morgan Stanley 5.5 percent.

For local economies, Tian said that the majority of localities will likely set their targets around 6 percent, while some, including South China's Hainan Province and Southwest China's Guizhou Province, might have an ambitious goal of above 8 percent.

Henan, which was battered by floods and COVID-19 flare-ups in 2021, expects its GDP to increase 7 percent this year, according to its government work report released on Thursday.

Global Times