Fast growth driven by real economy, strong investment, experts say
Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality led the GDP list with a growth rate of 11 percent during the first three quarters of the year among the 19 provincial-level governments that had released the data as of Thursday.
Southwest China's Guizhou Province ranked second with a growth rate of 10.8 percent. Chongqing and Guizhou were the only two provincial-level governments that posted double-digit growth rates in the first three quarters, according to information from the provinces' statistics authorities.
"Provinces in western China are growing at a higher rate at present and the trend will continue for the next few years," Liu Xuezhi, an analyst at Bank of Communications, told the Global Times Thursday.
Liu noted that the industrial shift from the nation's coast to the west, and strong demand in infrastructure construction, are the major factors driving expansion in western China.
Tian Yun, editor-in-chief of the Macro China Information Network under the National Development and Reform Commission, noted that Chongqing's emphasis on the real economy is another major reason for its rapid growth.
The municipality's foreign trade, a major driving force for China's growth, has been slowing down. Data from the website of Statistical Information of Chongqing on Monday showed that the municipality's foreign trade contracted 19 percent year-on-year to 365.5 billion yuan ($57.5 billion) in the first three quarters.
However, total investment in fixed assets in Chongqing topped 1.06 trillion yuan in the first three quarters, up 17.3 percent year-on-year, compared with a growth rate of 10.3 percent for the country overall.
Investment in the secondary industry surged 20.8 percent during the period, beating the gains of 12.6 percent and 15.9 percent in the primary and tertiary industries, respectively, according to data on the website.
"The urbanization process and rapid growth in foreign investment in Chongqing have also contributed to the municipality's growth," Tian told the Global Times Thursday.
But Tian noted that despite the rapid growth in western provinces, they still lag far behind East China in terms of GDP per capita. The GDP per capita of Chongqing was 15,385 yuan in the first three quarters, compared with 36,047 yuan in Beijing.
Beijing reported GDP growth of 6.7 percent in the first three quarters, which put it last on the growth list. Shanghai's growth rate was 6.8 percent, just above Beijing.
"A high base number is a major reason behind the slower growth in Beijing and Shanghai," said Liu.
China's economic growth slowed to 6.9 percent in the first three quarters, according to official data released Monday. Liu Dongliang, an analyst at China Merchants Bank, told the Global Times Thursday that local governments are expected to speed up investment to stabilize growth.
The government of South China's Guangdong Province, which reported GDP growth of 7.9 percent in the first three quarters, said that fiscal spending on infrastructure will be accelerated in the fourth quarter, according to a post on the province's website on Tuesday.
Also, analysts said that the central government is expected to further ease monetary policy before the end of this year in a bid to stabilize growth, and China could manage to reach the growth target of "about 7 percent" in this year.