Economics and Reforms

About two-thirds of China’s provinces, regions and municipalities have cut their 2020 growth targets from last year.

Of provincial-level regions, 22 including Beijing, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Henan, Hainan, and Fujian, set lower growth targets this year compared to last, a similar number to last year, the report said.

Beijing, Shanghai, and the southern export hub of Guangdong all dropped their targets from 6-6.5 percent growth to “around 6%” in 2020, in line with the expected change to the national target.

The moves came after at least 11 provincial-level regions missed their 2019 GDP targets, the report said, citing preliminary statistics released by local governments.

Targets for 2020 ranged from around 5 percent growth – for the northeastern province of Heilongjiang and the northern city of Tianjin – to around 9 percent expansion for the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Policy sources have told Reuters that Beijing plans to set a lower national growth target of around 6 percent this year, compared to last year’s 6-6.5 percent, relying on increased infrastructure spending to ward off a sharper slowdown.

Key national targets are due to be announced in March. Growth cooled to 6.1 percent in 2019, the weakest in nearly 30 years, and analysts polled by Reuters expect it will slide further to 5.9 percent this year even with additional stimulus measures.

So far, six provincial-level regions, largely in northern China, have kept their targets the same as last year. Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Hebei, Jilin and Chongqing have all set targets that match the 2019 goals, of between 5 percent and 6.5 percent growth.

Just one region, Tianjin, raised its growth target. Sichuan and Yunnan have yet to release their targets.

Of the six provincial-level regions keeping growth targets steady, two — Inner Mongolia and Jilin — missed their targets for last year, according to the report.