China's economy grew by 6.1 per cent last year, the lowest growth rate in 29 years, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday, as weak domestic demand and the bruising 18-month-long trade war with the United States took toll on the world's second-largest economic giant.
China's birthrate dropped past year to its lowest level since the formation of the People's Republic of China in 1949, adding to concerns of a long-term challenge for the government, as the ageing society and shrinking workforce pile pressure on a slowing economy.
More stimulus steps are expected this year to help avert sharper slowdown.
As expected, China's growth slowed to 6.1 percent past year, from 6.6 percent in 2018, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.
China's value-added industrial output, an important economic indicator, expanded 5.7 per cent year on year in 2019, slowing from 6.2 per cent growth in 2018.
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Analysts reckon that long-term target would need growth this year to remain around 6 percent, though top officials have warned the economy may face even greater pressure than in 2019. Retail sales rose eight per cent versus an estimate of 7.9 per cent.
The moderation in full-year growth reflected lower demand for Chinese goods, which has been dampened by the trade war with the US, and weaker global electronics orders, according to Rajiv Biswas, Asia chief economist at IHS Markit.
City forecasters are predicting that growth will slip below the symbolically important 6pc mark this year despite the USA and China reaching a "phase one" trade deal that, at least temporarily, cools tensions.
Data earlier this week also showed that China's exports rose for the first time in five months in December, and its imports beat estimates.
Fixed-asset investment rose 5.4% for the full year, versus expectations for a 5.2% increase, the same as in the first 11 months of the year.
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China's GDP, worth an estimated $14.4 trillion, is second in size only to the U.S. Its economy has been undergoing a painful shift away from heavy industry and commodities.
Property investment growth hit a two-year low in December even as it grew at a solid 9.9 percent pace in 2019.
The 0.5 percentage point decline in the growth rate from the previous year is the biggest since a 1.7 point year-on-year slowdown in 2012.
The National Bureau of Statistics of China released the new data on Friday, the same day that it said the country's birth rate had also fallen - to its lowest level since the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Beijing has been relying on a mix of fiscal and monetary steps to weather the current downturn, cutting taxes and allowing local governments to sell huge amounts of bonds to fund infrastructure projects. The slower growth in real incomes was partly due to higher inflation, according to Ning, who said he expects personal income and consumption to continue growing this year.
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