Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui has declared the province broke through the 10 trillion yuan GDP mark in 2019, equating to growth of roughly 6.3%. However, he clearly sees challenges in the year ahead, as growth is forecast to subside further to 6.0% in 2020.
It’s not going to be a repeat of 2019 in terms of government support, either, as provincial spending (see next story) would be clipped, too. Budgets will grow by 4%, down from 10% growth in 2019, while fixed-asset investment would subside from above 11% in 2019 to around 10% in 2020.
Retail sales, unsurprisingly, are forecast to ease from 7.9% growth in 2019 to 7.5% in 2020. This is despite per capita disposable income of the province’s residents reaching 38,900 yuan in 2019, up 8.6% over 2018, and it is despite a shift to the web: online retail sales and express delivery services surged by 19.3% and 29.2%, respectively.
The outlook for trade is uncertain, given the variables at play in the US-China relationship, which will see a “phase one” deal signed in Washington today. Nevertheless, Ma was keen to point to the province’s resilience in 2019, as it kept overall trade growth positive, albeit barely, at 0.3%, with exports up 1.6%. In 2020, the government expects trade to stay in positive territory, though no specific forecast was given.
Foreign investment came in at 150 billion yuan, an increase of 3.5%, but Ma did not give a forecast for 2020.
Consumers didn’t have too much to complain about in 2019, as inflation ran at an average for the year of 3.4%, despite the sharp rise toward the end of the year in food prices, caused by an outbreak across China of swine flu.
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