China's provincial GDP data points to recovery
BEIJING - China s regional economies enjoyed a revival in growth in the second quarter, data from provincial governments showed, chiming with earlier figures that suggest a burst of government stimulus measures is re-invigorating activity.
Of the 30 regions and provinces that released their local gross domestic product (GDP) data, 23 reported first-half economic growth accelerated from the first quarter.
About three-quarters posted growth that was higher than the national average of 7.4 per cent in the first six months.
Growth also diverged sharply between eastern and western China. The coastal and northeastern regions fared the worst, while activity was most buoyant in the central and western areas, where double-digit growth rates were concentrated.
Analysts said this suggested China s bid to rebalance its economy is paying off.
From redefining job targets to shifting investment to inland areas and cutting obsolete capacity in energy- guzzling sectors in the north, China wants to overhaul the worlds second-largest economy and encourage more sustainable and higher-quality growth.
The growth gap is an expected result of Beijings efforts to rebalance regional economies and let the fruits of growth be more evenly shared by the poorer inland regions, said Nie Wen, an analyst at Hwabao Trust in Shanghai.
In Hebei Chinas top steel producer for instance, GDP growth stayed sluggish in the first six months, even though activity picked up slightly to 5.8 per cent compared with 4.2 per cent in the first quarter.
Hebei's drowsy performance is in part due to its efforts remake itself. Hebei wants to slash total steel capacity by 60 million tonnes by 2017 and to shut more outdated steel mills this year to cut air pollution in northern China.
Similarly in the northeastern Heilongjiang province, the only province that has not released its GDP data, a local statistician who declined to be identified said firsthalf GDP growth was likely to be the lowest in China at under 5 per cent.
A hub for Chinas heavy industry and a major coal producer, Heilongjiang was also the weak- est performer in the first quarter, when its GDP growth fell to 4.1 per cent.
In contrast, economies in the west such as Chongqing, Guizhou and Qinghai all posted doubledigit GDP growth between January and June, helped by policy support. Just last month, Premier Li Keqiang had vowed to sink more cash into the industries and infrastructure in western China.
Most of Beijing s recent piecemeal pro-growth measures have targeted the central and western provinces, Nie said.