hina’s economic growth will remain stable in the first quarter, and is expected to land at 6.3 percent or even higher year-on-year when it is released this week, e
conomists said after some economic indicators for March surprised the market on the upside.
“Downside pressure began to ease in the first quarter, as signaled by the r
ather substantial recovery in various economic indicators in March,” said Yao Jingyuan, form
er chief economist at the National Bureau of Statistics and a researcher for the Counselors’ Office of the State Council.
Chinese banks’ lending in yuan, a leading indicator for the real economy
, surged in March by 1.69 trillion yuan ($252 billion), up 52 percent from a year earli
er, according to the People’s Bank of China, the central bank. The manufacturing purchasing managers inde
x for March, which was back into expansion territory, may be a sign of accelerating industrial activities.
Exports in March also picked up, rising 14.2 percent in US dollar ter
ms from a year ago, versus 0.1 percent for the January-February period, customs data showed.
growth－and with good reason. China sustained an average annual growth rate of 10 percent from 1980 to 2011, unprece
dented for a large economy. Since 2012, however, the annual growth has slowed down with the Government Wor
k Report presented recently by Premier Li Keqiang setting a growth target of 6-6.5 percent for 2019.
For China doubters, this is a “gotcha” moment. After all, the premier’s grow
th target implies a 40 percent deceleration from the “miracle” trend. This seems to vin
dicate warnings of the dreaded “middle-income trap”－the tendency of fast-growing developing economies to re
vert to a much weaker growth trajectory just when they get their first whiff of prosperity.
The early work on this phenomenon was precise in terms of what to expect: as per capita inco
me moved into the $16,000-$17,000 range (in dollars at purchasing power parity in 2005), a sust
ained growth deceleration of around 2.5 percentage points can be expected. With China having hit that income thr
eshold in 2017, according to International Monetary Fund estimates, its post-2011 slowdown looks all the more ominous.
Hainan is offering housing incentives to attract talent to the tropical isla
nd province, where the country’s 12th free trade zone－its largest－is being created.
A notice from the provincial government on Friday said the employ
ees of companies that move their headquarters to the island will enjoy the same housing polici
es and credit support as locals when buying a house, even though they don’t have household registration in Hainan.
The supplementary measure, which is intended to address problems of new em
ployees settling in the Hainan FTZ, will improve the business environment, attract investo
rs, promote opening-up and development of headquarters, and optimize the living environment, local officials said.
In April last year, after the central government said Hainan would become a pilot free trade zone, the island announ
ced it would attract 1 million skilled workers. To accomplish that, it has adopted measures to support free hou
sing for topnotch personnel, child education, spousal employment, medical insurance and car purchases.