China’s economy grew at its slowest pace in nearly three decades in 2019, while the country’s birth rate fell to a record low.
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The result is in line with expectations. Although China’s GDP grew 6.0% on-year in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, lower than some economists had expected, several indicators showed that activity picked up in the final days of 2019.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected China’s economy to have grown 6.1% in 2019, compared with 6.6% in 2018.
The ongoing slowdown is indicative of all the difficulties facing the world’s second-largest economy, which is fighting with rising debt, reducing domestic demand and fallout from the trade war with the United States.
The GDP figures come just two days after China and the US signed the first step in a trade agreement, putting on hold a nearly two-year trade war while leaving in place tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars on Chinese imports.
Analysts have already pointed to the “phase one” deal — in which China agreed to buy hundreds of billions of dollars worth of products from the United States, among other factors — as something that will grow business confidence this year.