Shanghai defies slowdown forecast
Bill Savadove in Shanghai
Shanghai's economic growth roared ahead at an annual rate of 12.7 per cent in the first four months of the year, despite an official forecast of a slowdown.
The city's gross domestic product grew by 11.1 per cent last year and Shanghai officials had already admitted year-on-year growth exceeded 12 per cent in the first quarter of this year.
In January, Mayor Han Zheng forecast GDP growth of at least 10 per cent this year, a target widely heralded as a slowdown amid a central government push to improve the quality of growth. Mr Han gave the latest figure in a meeting with the mayor of Rotterdam, Ivo Opstelten, the Liberation Daily reported. It gave no other details.
Shanghai officials have dismissed worries of economic overheating and the possibility of a bubble in the city's property market.
Based on figures recently released by the Shanghai Bureau of Statistics, export growth has narrowly exceeded last year's pace. Shanghai's exports reached US$35 billion in the first four months of the year, up 24.1 per cent, surpassing last year's 23.4 per cent rise.
Meanwhile, retail sales rose 13.1 per cent year on year to 109 billion yuan in the first four months. That growth exceeded a rise of 11.9 per cent for the whole of last year.
Shanghai has been trying to encourage domestic consumption to play a larger role in economic growth. But fixed-asset investment, a measure of state spending, has slowed. Investment in fixed assets rose only 8.9 per cent to 107 billion yuan in the first quarter, against a 14.8 per cent gain for the whole of last year.
Industrial production surged 16.8 per cent in the first four months, to 540 billion yuan.