China's economic growth slows to a three-decade low

CHINA's economy grew 6

22 January 2019 - 19:00

CHINA's economy grew 6.6 per cent in 2018, its slowest pace in almost three decades, losing more steam in the last quarter as it battles to quell massive debt and a US trade war, official data showed.

The data confirms a slowdown in the world's second largest economy that could threaten global growth. China's growth in 2018 was the country's slowest reported rate since 1990 and down from 6.8 per cent growth in 2017.

China's economy grew 6.4 per cent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, levels last seen in early 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis, reports The Guardian of UK.

'We see that there are changes in stability, concern about these changes. The external environment is complicated and severe. The economy is facing downward pressure,' said Ning Jizhe, director of China's National Statistic Bureau, adding that China's economy remained 'steady overall'.

The latest data, while in line with expectations, puts pressure on Beijing to reach a deal with Washington to end the bruising trade war. 'China-US conflict is indeed affecting China's economy, that is true, but the impact is manageable,' Mr Ning said.

The latest economic figures suggest China may no longer be able to help shore up weakening global growth, as it has in the past.

The data confirm a challenging period for China's economy, with weakness discernible across different sectors,' said Tom Rafferty, principal economist for China at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The group predicts even slower growth of 6.3 per cent in 2019 and a further weakening in 2020.

'The first half of 2019 is likely to be equally difficult, with headline growth likely to recede further. China's economy is unlikely to experience a rebound similar to past business cycle expansions,' Mr Rafferty said.

Most economists doubt China's official GDP figures, with some estimating that real figure could less than half the rate reported by the government. China's latest data comes at a time when international attention is focused on the Chinese economy.

Chinese vice premier Liu He will visit the United States January on 30 and 31 for the next round of trade talks with Washington. Vice president Wang Qishan is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos later this month.


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