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China heads for 8% growth target

CHINA'S economy looks likely to reach its 8 percent growth target this year as most provinces have achieved or even bettered the goal in the first half.

The provinces showed improved economic performances on the back of government proactive policies.

Among the 27 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities that have unveiled data on their gross domestic product, 19 reported a growth of more than 8 percent.

Thirteen posted an economic expansion of more than 10 percent, according to reports by provincial statistics bureaus yesterday.

The Chinese mainland is home to 22 provinces, five autonomous regions and four municipalities.

The municipality of Tianjin and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region are the pathfinders so far - both registering a year-on-year jump of 16.2 percent in first-half GDP thanks to huge investments in the areas.

Shanghai has recorded the slowest increase to date at 5.6 percent.

But Shanxi Province, yet to release figures, may become the worst performer as its first-quarter GDP fell 8.1 percent due to the national initiative to rectify the coal industry that is plagued with safety problems.

"Shanghai's slower growth, compared with other areas, was mainly due to its high base last year and the city's heavier reliance on trade, which was hit hard by the global financial crisis," said Cai Xuchu, chief economist at Shanghai Statistics Bureau.

'More confident'

Shanghai's exports dropped 22.3 percent from a year earlier in the first half to US$62.5 billion, while its imports decreased 24.8 percent to US$57.9 billion.

Growth in other export-oriented areas such as Zhejiang Province and Guangdong Province also slowed, with Zhejiang gaining 6.3 percent and Guangdong 7.1 percent.

Li Maoyu, an analyst at Changjiang Securities Co, said he was more confident that China could achieve its 8 percent growth goal this year.

"The provincial-level data have confirmed a stable growth momentum in the country," Li said. "As the world economy improves, I believe it will not be so difficult for China to reach its target for the year."

China's economy expanded 7.1 percent in the first half on an annual basis, the National Bureau of Statistics said last week. The rate settled at 7.9 percent in the second quarter, accelerating from a 6.1 percent advance in the first quarter.

As authorities repeatedly stressed the continuance of a proactive fiscal policy and moderately easy monetary policy, some economists said the reassurances provided a lift to businesses, giving the economy another growth catalyst.

"China has made it clear that the current policy stance will remain unchanged and this should ease concerns about less credit and less stimulus," said Wang Qing, an economist at Morgan Stanley.


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