China's Economic Growth Sinks to 3-Decade Low

China's Economic Growth Sinks to 3-Decade Low

China's Economic Growth Sinks to 3-Decade Low

China's economic growth fell to a three-decade low in 2018 as business activity lagged amid a tariff war with Washington.

The fourth quarter growth rate was down from 6.5 per cent in the third quarter, according to data released Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics, and matched the median forecast of 6.4 per cent from a Bloomberg survey of analysts.

For the full year China expanded at 6.6%, its slowest rate since 1990.

China is still and will long remain in an important period of strategic opportunity for development, and its fundamentals of long-term sound development do not and will not change, Ning Jizhe, head of the NBS, said at a press conference.

The slowing growth prompted Premier Li Keqiang last week to vow the government would not let the economy "fall off a cliff".

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.

Ning said that while the China-U.S. trade war has affected China's economy the impact on growth is manageable. Other Chinese analysts were more dower.

China´s exports to United States and the world also fell in December, reinforcing the need for its legions of domestic consumers to fuel the economy.

China's workforce - those aged between 16 and 59 - was 897.3 million a year ago, a 4.7 million drop from 2017, NBS data showed.

The government pressed ahead with supply-side structural reform past year, making steady progress, Ning said.


The slowdown was expected by economists.

India, the world's second most populous nation, has also been experiencing slower population growth. In December, sales grew 8.2%.

Output at factories and workshops ticked up 6.2% for the year, down from 6.6% in 2017.

Economists in China and overseas have long suspected data is massaged upward, often noting that full-year gross domestic product hits Beijing's pre-set targets with suspicious regularity.

"China´s GDP number is not an accurate gauge of economic growth", said Raymond Yeung, economist at ANZ bank.

The governor of northeastern Liaoning admitted in 2017 that the industrial province had falsified data for years.

Even Li said in 2007, when he was Liaoning´s top political official, that results were often "man-made" and he used his own calculations to guide provincial policymaking, according to a confidential memo released by WikiLeaks.

"Considering the deterioration of corporate profitability, the downward pressure on the real estate market, still uncertain external demand, and the decline in the growth rate of new service industries, pressure on employment in many industries this year can not be ruled out, "the CICC analysts said".

The country's birth rate stood at 10.94 per thousand, the lowest since 1949 and down from 12.43 per thousand in 2017, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed.

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