China posts weakest growth in 29 years as trade war bites, but ends 2019 on firmer note

china posts-weakest-growth-in-29-years-as-trade-war-bites,-but-ends-2019-on-firmer-note
  • China Q4 GDP grows 6.0% y/y (vs poll 6.0%, Q3’s 6.0%)
  • 2019 growth slows to 6.1% (poll 6.1%, 2018’s 6.6%) – weakest pace since 1990
  • Partial Sino-US trade deal a relief but may offer only modest boost
  • More stimulus expected in 2020 – a crucial year for leaders
  • December data shows quickening factory output, investment growth

BEIJING: China‘s slowed to its weakest in nearly 30 years in 2019 amid a bruising with the United States and sputtering investment, and more stimulus steps are expected this year to help avert a sharper slowdown.

But data on Friday also showed the world’s second-largest ended the year on a firmer note as trade tensions eased, suggesting a raft of growth boosting measures over the past two years may finally be starting to take hold.

This year is crucial for the ruling Communist Party to fulfill its goal of doubling GDP and incomes in the decade to 2020, and turning China into a “moderately prosperous” .

Fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) rose 6.0% from a year earlier, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed, steadying at the same pace as the third quarter, although still the weakest in nearly three decades.

That left full-year growth at 6.1%, the slowest annual rate of expansion China has seen since 1990. Analysts had expected it to cool from 6.6% in 2018 to 6.1%.

“I think it (the apparent stabilisation of growth in the fourth quarter) is sustainable,” said Louis Kuijs of Oxford Economics in Hong Kong.

“We have seen improvement in industry. We have seen efforts (from policymakers) to make sure the economy continues to grow, especially efforts in the financing of infrastructure.”

sources have told Reuters that Beijing plans to set a lower economic growth target of around 6% this year from last year’s 6-6.5%, relying on increased infrastructure spending to ward off a sharper slowdown.

On a quarterly basis, the economy grew 1.5% in October-December, also in line with expectations and the same pace as the previous three months.


December data released along with GDP showed a surprising acceleration in factory output and investment growth, while sales grew at a steady, solid pace.

Industrial output grew 6.9% in December from a year earlier

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