China's 2018 Economic Growth Edges Down Amid Trade War

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"China on Monday announced that its official economic growth came in at 6.6 percent in 2018 - the slowest pace since 1990", writes CNBC. Overall it reduced its forecast growth for the advanced economies, with growth set to drop from 2.3 percent in 2018 to 2 percent this year and falling to 1.7 percent in 2020.

Since then the country has seen strong growth.

The country's economy has performed within a reasonable range in 2018, with economic growth being generally stable and improvement achieved in performance, Ning Jizhe, head of the NBS, said at a press conference. He cited import controls, volatile financial markets and declining investment spending as factors.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, GDP grew by 6.4%; in the previous quarter it had grown by 6.5%.

The economy faltered most at the end of the year, recording 6.4 per cent growth for the fourth quarter.

China's government has been pushing to shift away from export-led growth to depend more on domestic consumption.

Slower growth in China also means it is harder for China to address its mountain of debt, even with the Communist Party's undoubted ability to be able to support the economy. In 2017 it had grown by 6.8.

Production of plastics, metals and specialized industrial machinery accelerated, "suggesting warming expectations for a pick-up in investment", Chaoping Zhu of J.P. Morgan Asset Management said in a report.

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Mann also pointed out that stimulus measures from the government, outcome of trade negotiations between China and the U.S.as well as the high spirit in the private sector investment are the keys we should be looking at in 2019.

In this January 20, 2019, photo, a Chinese couple walk by a vacant shop lot as a worker, below, waits for customers at a clothing shop at a shopping mall in Beijing.

Relations with top trading partner the USA deteriorated sharply past year after President Donald Trump hit roughly half of Chinese imports with new tariffs in an attempt to force trade concessions.

Last year, US President Donald Trump imposed tariff hikes of up to 25 per cent on United States dollars 250 billion of Chinese goods. The People's Bank of China has been quietly guiding interbank borrowing costs down without actually cutting official interest rates, and the fiscal authorities have pressed on with tax cuts and expedited government bond sales, among other policies.

Yet the slowdown in Chinese economic growth is a reminder that Beijing has its challenges too. As pocketbooks snap shut, the downturn could worsen. That is if you believe the official statistics, which few economists do. "Online retail growth surpassed 20 percent". Investment in infrastructure continued its pickup from a nadir reached in September.

Some factories in Guangdong - China's export hub - have shut earlier than usual ahead of the long Lunar New Year holiday as new business dries up. "And debt will grow". "I think more needs to be done by the government".

Chinese leaders warned earlier any recovery would be "L-shaped", meaning companies and investors shouldn't expect growth to rebound to the previous decade's double-digit levels. Beijing has broadcast this for several years, that it's going to focus on the quality not quantity of growth.

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