China's big cities target slower growth in 2017

The city skyline in Beijing.
The city skyline in Beijing. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (Reuters) - Economic growth in some of China's largest cities is expected to have slowed in 2016 and will continue to decelerate in 2017, according to official estimates issued on Sunday (Jan 15).

The southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, which has been the fastest-growing major city in recent years with expansion rates of more than 10 per cent annually, will target growth of around 10 per cent in 2017, compared with a preliminary figure of 10.7 per cent for 2016, the city's government said on its official microblog on Sunday.

In Shanghai, the country's financial centre, authorities will target growth of around 6.5 per cent this year, easing from an estimated 6.7 per cent in 2016, the official People's Daily reported on Sunday citing the city's government.

The world's second-largest economy likely grew by around 6.7 per cent last year - roughly in the middle of the government's target range - but it faces increasing uncertainties in 2017, the head of China's state planning agency said on Jan 10.

China's leaders are likely to accept growth this year of around 6.5 per cent, policy insiders say.

Despite the relatively robust figures for major cities, slowing growth in provinces and regions that are home to heavy industry is likely to have weighed on China's economy last year.

Some "rustbelt" provinces reported weak or no growth during 2016, due largely to government efforts to restructure the economy from a dependence on manufacturing and exports to one powered more by domestic consumption.

The capital Beijing probably saw economic growth of around 6.7 per cent in 2016, and targets expansion of about 6.5 per cent this year, according to the Beijing Daily newspaper.

Growth in the neighbouring port city of Tianjin probably eased to around 9 per cent last year, from 9.3 per cent the previous year, and it will target an 8 per cent expansion this year, according to the People's Daily.

China's statistics bureau is due to release nationwide gross domestic product data for 2016 on Jan 20.