China Q4 GDP growth slows to 6.4 percent, as expected
23 January, 2019, 07:57 | Author: Sara Gill
China's economy in 2018 grew at its weakest annual pace in almost three decades amidst a protracted trade war with the USA, putting pressure on Beijing to reach a deal with Washington and to amp up stimulus measures in efforts to avert a sharper slowdown.
The 6.6% met the annual target from the central government of 'about 6.5%', but that's just about all you can say about past year which saw a sharp slowdown in growth from 6.8% in the first quarter to 6.4% in the final three months.
According to China's National Bureau of Statistics, the birth rate in 2018 was just shy of 11 per thousand, down from 12.43 per thousand the year prior.
According to data released, China's GDP growth rate for 2018 stood at 6.6%.
Communist leaders are trying to steer China to slower, more self-sustaining growth based on consumer spending instead of trade and investment.
Retail sales grew 8.2 per cent December compared to a year earlier, up slightly from 8.1 per cent in November, which was the lowest growth rate in 15 years.
Chai Zhenwu, president of the China Population Association, told media in October last year that the number of people born will continue to fall over the next few years. But gains in disposable income are slowing, while household debt is on the rise.
Within fixed-asset investment, property investment grew 9.5 per cent over the course of 2018. Yet the slowdown in Chinese economic growth is a reminder that Beijing has its challenges too.
Xi delivered an opening speech for the study session on Monday morning.
The government pressed ahead with supply-side structural reform a year ago, making steady progress, Ning said.
'China's labour participation rate is not considered low worldwide, more than 700 million of our 900 million people (of working age) are employed, and there is still room (for growth),' he said.
As for the new economic engines for Chinese economy, he sees potential in the Greater Bay Area. "While the government is putting policy responses in place, we anticipate that these will need to be ramped up over the course of the year", Chang wrote in a note ahead of the data.
It accounts for one-third of global growth.
US President Donald Trump said on Saturday there has been progress toward a trade deal with China, but denied that he was considering lifting tariffs.
Economists say Beijing has to achieve a balance between stimulating the economy while keeping debt levels from going out of control.
"The trade dispute has not and will not change China's economic growth fundamentals".
The economy in China cooled in the fourth quarter of 2018 after buckling from pressure from a bruising trade war with the United States and faltering domestic demand. Auto sales in the world's biggest vehicle market shrank for the first time since the 1990s.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that of the 20 provinces and municipalities that have reported their 2019 growth targets so far, 13 have cut their objectives and six have left their targets unchanged.
"The most important driver really has been the credit deceleration and the concerns about financial imbalances on the part of the policy makers that has led them to pursue stricter policies", he said.
The real estate sector is a key pillar of the economy, so any further weakness in sales could influence the pace and scope of fresh stimulus measures expected from Beijing this year.
The growth target range will be released publicly at the National People's Congress in early March.
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