GDP growth leaps ahead in H1

08:16, July 27, 2010      

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Most provinces and regions in China reported first-half gross domestic product (GDP) growth exceeding the national level, with less-developed central and western regions generally outperforming the nation's more economically advanced areas.

However, experts said this was evidence that the country is still on the old investment-driven track and needs to make greater efforts to fulfill economic restructuring.

As of Sunday, more than 20 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions had published their GDP growth figures for the first half, all of which were above the national level of 11.1 percent.

Analysts suggested that government unify provincial and central GDP calculation methods as soon as possible and that local officials' performance should no longer be judged by local GDP growth in order to resolve statistical inaccuracies.

Tianjin led the list with a GDP growth rate of 18 percent in the first half, and Chongqing ranked second. The booming southwestern metropolis was also the first among western regions, with a record-breaking economic growth of 17.6 percent.

Shaanxi province in northwestern China jumped to third place from the bottom of last year's list with a growth rate of 17.5 percent.

Ningxia Hui autonomous region ranked fourth on the national list with GDP growing by 17.1 percent, and the figures for Inner Mongolia autonomous region and Sichuan province were expected to be above 16 percent. Hubei and Hunan provinces both reported economic growth rate of more than 15 percent, and Jiangxi achieved 14.4 percent growth, the highest in the same period since 1995.

The outstanding performance of less-developed central and western areas in the first half of 2010 contrasts sharply with the country's more advanced regions, where there are signs of a slowdown

Guangdong province estimated a GDP growth rate of 12.7 percent while Zhejiang reported 13 percent, 2 percentage points lower than the first quarter. The growth rate in Jiangsu province slowed by 0.9 percentage points compared with the first quarter to 14.5 percent, and Beijing ranked at the bottom with 12 percent increase rate.

Sheng Laiyun, spokesman of National Bureau of Statistics, said earlier that the growth rate of fixed asset investment and industrial output in central and western areas in the first half was faster than in the east.

"The rapid growth in these regions reflected conflicts between economic recovery led by government-dominant investment and heavy industries, and necessary economic restructuring," said Wang Jun, an analyst with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

Wang said government infrastructure investment has become the major driving economic growth in central and western areas but led to a wider gap between development of heavy and light industries, which has exacerbated the long-standing structural imbalance.

"From these figures, we can see there has been no substantial change in the economic growth pattern. The central government needs to do more to ensure economic restructuring really takes place," he said.

But Li Xunlei, chief economist with Guotai Junan Securities, said that the figures prove that the policies adopted by the central government to boost growth in less-developed inland regions "have worked".

"Sound economic growth in central and western areas stimulated by the government will help to narrow the development gap between the west and east."

Li added: "I hope the central government can offer more money for these areas to improve living conditions, for example healthcare, and encourage the private sector to play a bigger role in these regions."

Source: China Daily


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