At least seven Chinese provinces are setting lower growth targets for this year than in 2013, adding to signs that expansion will slow as the government focuses on policies to sustain the economy in the long term.
Hebei, which borders Beijing in the north, set an 8 percent growth goal amid “unprecedented pressure” from air-pollution controls, according to an annual work report published yesterday in the official Hebei Daily. Last year’s target was 9 percent. Fujian in the southeast and Gansu and Ningxia in the northwest are also targeting slower expansion, state-run websites show.
President Xi Jinping is trying to shift local officials’ focus to environmental protection and containing debt rather than just short-term economic growth. The latest regional targets suggest leaders will set a national goal this year of 7 percent, down from 7.5 percent in 2013, said Dariusz Kowalczyk, a senior economist and strategist at Credit Agricole CIB.