A number of Chinese economic powerhouses have released their first-quarter GDP data, and they have mapped out measures to accelerate growth and take the lead in driving the nation’s overall recovery – a step signaled by the central government last year.
Recent economic data showed this mechanism has been proven effective in driving the overall rate of growth and will have an increasing influence on China’s economic rebound, experts said.
South China’s Guangdong Province on Monday vowed to strengthen its role as an economic heavyweight.
At a meeting to study the first-quarter economic work, Governor Wang Weizhong said that Guangdong should do a good job in economic work in the second quarter to realize its economic and social development goals for the whole year. The province has set a GDP growth target of more than 5 percent.
Guangdong achieved GDP of 3.02 trillion yuan ($437.65 billion) in the first quarter, up 4 percent from a year earlier, the provincial statistics bureau said on Sunday, putting the powerhouse on track for fast economic recovery this year. The province’s GDP grew 3.3 percent in the year-earlier period and 1.9 percent for all of 2022.
Guangdong will take multiple measures to promote consumption of such items as vehicles and home appliances, Wang said. The province will also fully consolidate the positive momentum of foreign trade and foreign investment, and support enterprises to make good use of the Canton Fair and other exhibitions to expand markets and seize orders.
Guangdong is among the six provinces tapped by the central government to take the lead in driving the economic recovery. The other five are East China’s Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shandong provinces, Central China’s Henan Province and Southwest China’s Sichuan Province. Together, they achieved 53.5 trillion yuan in GDP in 2022, accounting for 44.2 percent of the national total.
Other economic provinces have also announced their first-quarter economic performances. Shandong’s GDP rose 4.7 percent year-on-year to 2.04 trillion yuan. Zhejiang reported GDP growth of 4.9 percent, with impressive gains in the new-energy industry, whose added value increased by 33 percent.
This year, major economic provinces such as Guangdong, Shandong and Zhejiang have set GDP growth targets at above 5 percent, while Jiangsu set a goal of about 5 percent.
Amid multiple risks such as the COVID-19 epidemic and an economic downturn, these powerhouses basically achieved the goal of stabilizing their markets and growth rates in the economic and trade fields. They have played a key role in driving up the national economy, Chen Jia, an independent analyst on global strategy, told the Global Times on Monday.
“As long as the six provinces can ensure their growth targets this year, they can contribute 45 percent of national GDP this year,” Chen said.
Four of these six provinces are heavily oriented toward foreign trade, making them important drivers for promoting the steady development and rapid recovery of China’s economy, Chen said.
Guangdong’s first-quarter foreign trade totaled 1.84 trillion yuan, and its exports climbed 6.2 percent year-on-year to 1.22 trillion yuan. Notably, Guangdong’s total trade reversed earlier declines and grew 3.9 percent year-on-year in February. In March, its foreign trade grew 25.7 percent.
Fitch Bohua, the rating unit under Fitch Ratings, on Monday raised China’s GDP forecast for 2023 to 5.8 percent, from a previous forecast of 5 percent. In the first quarter, China’s GDP grew by 4.5 percent year-on-year, an increase of 1.6 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2022, exceeding market expectations.
As the impact of the epidemic ebbs and various pro-growth policies kick in, China’s economy has stabilized and recovered with a strong momentum, Fitch Bohua said in a report sent to the Global Times on Monday. “Considering the low base effect in the second quarter of 2022, economic growth in the second quarter of this year is bound to be significantly faster than that in the first quarter,” the report said.