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Financial News: China's GDP Growth Weakest Since 1990

China's GDP Growth Weakest Since 1990

01/17/2020 - 00:11:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - China's economy expanded at the slowest pace since 1990 as cooling domestic demand and property investment amid trade wars with the United States weighed heavily on growth last year.

In the whole year of 2019, gross domestic product grew 6.1 percent, which was well within the target of 6-6.5 percent, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Friday.

Nonetheless, this was the weakest expansion since 1990 and slower than the expected 6.2 percent. Moreover, growth moderated from 6.6 percent in 2018.

China's growth for 2019 matched the projections of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

In the fourth quarter, gross domestic product climbed 6.0 percent year-on-year, the same rate as seen in the third quarter and in line with expectations. The 6 percent was the lowest in nearly three decades.

Further, data showed that growth in industrial production accelerated unexpectedly to 6.9 percent in December from 6.2 percent in November. The rate was expected to ease to 5.9 percent.

Retail sales expanded 8 percent annually, as seen in November, and slightly faster than the expected rate of 7.9 percent.

In the year-to-date period, fixed asset investment was up 5.4 percent versus the expected rate of 5.2 percent.

At the same time, property investment increased 9.9 percent in the year-to-date period, compared to 10.2 percent increase in January to November.

The surveyed jobless rate rose slightly to 5.2 percent in December from 5.1 percent a month ago.

These numbers suggest that China's economy has stabilized following exhaustive efforts by the government and central bank, ING Economist Robert Carnell said.

That job is not over, and the external backdrop is still very challenging, with average tariff rates on exports to the US much higher still than they were 18 months ago, the economist added.

Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics, said economic activity picked up last month, helping to avert a further slowdown last quarter.

Despite the recent uptick in activity, it is premature to call the bottom of the current economic cycle, the economist noted.

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