Authorities in Guangdong province are recommending a smaller pay rise for workers this year as local companies adjust to weaker foreign demand for manufactured goods, the South China Morning Post reported. The Guangdong Provincial Labor and Social Security Bureau is advocating an average monthly salary increase of 7%, compared with 10% last year, while the pay rise ceiling has been lowered to 12% from 15%. The recommendations apply to companies that have profits matching the industry average. Danny Lau Tat-pong, chairman of the Hong Kong Small and Medium Enterprises Association, said he doubted whether companies would follow the guidelines with export orders only just showing signs of improvement. "It should recommend a pay freeze or cut," Lau added. Last month, Shenzhen cut the average wage benchmark for the first time in 10 years by 3.8% to RMB2,750 (US$402).