A total of 29 provinces of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have revised their growth targets downwards.
On February 9 the provincial-level National People’s Congress (NPC) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) of Guangdong, Jilin and Hainan provinces announced that they have lowered their growth target for 2015. Similar announcements had been made by other 26 provinces in January.
Guangdong’s growth target has been adjusted to 7.5%, down from 8.5% last year; Hainan has set a target of 8%, compared to 10% last year; and Jilin is expected to grow 6.5%, down from 8% in 2014.
The provinces whose economies are expected to slow down the most are Liaoning, Shanxi, Gansu and Heilongjiang. Their growth target is around 6%. The best-performing province will be Tibet, with 12% growth. Tibet’s economy is the smallest in the PRC. It is mainly controlled by the government and based on the extraction of raw materials.
For the first time since the beginning of the opening up and reform era, Shanghai has failed to name a growth target.
Among the other provinces and municipalities to have adjusted their growth targets are Tianjin (9% vs 1% last year), Yunnan (8.5% vs 11% last year), Beijing (7% vs 7.5% last year), Hebei (% vs 8% last year) and Chongqing (10% vs 11% last year).
In May 2014 Xi Jinping, reacting to signs that the economy was missing growth targets, had warned the public to get used to slower growth rates. “We must boost our confidence, adapt to the new normal condition based on the characteristics of China’s economic growth in the current phase and stay cool-minded”. China‘s media soon began to call the slower pace of economic growth the “New Normal” (新常态).
According to state media, slower growth rates are no reason to worry about the state of the country’s economy, but are a rather positive sign. They are seen as the result of a structural shift towards high-quality, more equal and sustainable growth.