China's big cities target slower growth in 2017 | Reuters

BEIJING 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.The southwestern metropolis of Chongqing, which has been the fastest-growing major city in recent years with expansion rates of more than 10 percent annually, will target growth of around 10 percent in 2017, compared with a preliminary figure of 10.7 percent 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 percent this year, easing from an estimated 6.7 percent 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 percent 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 percent, 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 weighted 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 percent in 2016, and targets expansion of about 6.5 percent this year, according to the Beijing Daily newspaper. Growth in the neighbouring port city of Tianjin probably eased to around 9 percent last year, from 9.3 percent the previous year, and it will target an 8 percent 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. (Reporting by Nicholas Heath and Lusha Zhang; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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Published Date: Jan 16, 2017 00:15 AM | Updated Date: Jan 16, 2017 00:15 AM

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