China’s economic growth slowest since 1990 amid trade war with US

Fears China may not be able to help shore up weakening global growth as GDP figures are slowest nation has reported in 28 years

China’s economy grew 6.6% in 2018, its slowest pace in almost 30 years, confirming a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy that could threaten global growth.

After years of breakneck expansion, the world’s second largest economy is losing steam, official data on Monday confirmed. China’s growth in 2018 was the country’s slowest reported rate since 1990 and down from 6.8% growth in 2017.

China’s economy grew 6.4% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, levels last seen in early 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis.

“We see that there are changes in stability, concern about these changes. The external environment is complicated and severe. The economy is facing downward pressure,” said Ning Jizhe, director of China’s National Statistic Bureau, adding that China’s economy remained “steady overall”.

Monday’s data, while in line with expectations, puts pressure on Beijing to reach a deal with Washington to end the bruising trade war. “China-US conflict is indeed affecting China’s economy, that is true, but the impact is manageable,” Ning said.

The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.4% while Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.5%. China’s CSI300 index rose 0.97%.

The latest economic figures suggest China may no longer be able to help shore up weakening global growth, as it has in the past.

A government campaign to rein in risky debt has been compounded by a trade war with the US, hitting consumer and business confidence. Over the past few months consumer spending, manufacturing output, and investment have reached record lows.

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