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China's economy weakened to its slowest pace in three decades

Saturday, January 18th 2020 - 08:44 UTC
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China's economy weakened to its slowest pace in three decades last year as weaker domestic demand and trade tensions with the United States took their toll, official data showed on Friday.

The world's second-largest economy grew 6.1% in 2019, the slowest in 29 years but still within the government's target of 6 to 6.5 per cent. Analysts had expected it to expand 6.1 per cent, down from 6.6per cent in 2018.

While China's economy had been gradually losing steam over the first three quarters, growth stabilized at 6 per cent in the last three months of 2019 - the same pace as in the third quarter, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Facing sluggish demand at home and abroad and US trade pressure, Chinese policymakers have been rolling out a stream of growth-boosting measures over the past two years, while trying to contain financial and debt risks.

Ning Jizhe, commissioner of China's NBS, said China's economy generally sustained a stable momentum of growth in 2019. “However, we should also be aware that the global economic and trade growth is slowing down,” he said at a news conference.

He added that there were more sources of instability and risk, with the economy facing “mounting downward pressure”.

The figures were released after a truce was reached in the nearly two-year-old trade war, as president Donald Trump and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He signed a “phase one” agreement on Wednesday.

The World Bank said in a report this month that weakening exports in China had compounded the impact of its ongoing slowdown in domestic demand.

Policy uncertainty and higher tariffs on exports to the US also cast a pall on manufacturing activity and investor sentiment, it added.

The latest data showed that China's industrial production grew by 5.7 per cent last year, down from 6.2 per cent in 2018. Retail sales growth came in at 8 per cent, down from 9 per cent in the year before.

But analysts note that China's slowdown is structural, as it becomes a more developed economy and faces demographic challenges such as a shrinking number of people of working age.

While China's economy had been gradually losing steam over the first three quarters, growth stabilized at 6 per cent in the last three months of 2019 - the same pace as in the third quarter, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

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