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Posted on 01/17 17:59 NEWS | 0

Beijing posts economic data amid trade war

Employees work on the production line of a television factory under Zhaochi Group in Shenzhen, China August 8, 2019.

Jason Lee | Reuters

China said Friday its economy grew by 6.1% in 2019, meeting expectations even amid a trade dispute with the U.S.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected China's economy to have grown 6.1% in 2019, compared with 6.6% in 2018.

Still, China's GDP growth last year was the slowest since 1990, according to Reuters records.

Although Beijing's official GDP figures are tracked as an indicator of the health of the world's second-largest economy, many outside experts have long expressed skepticism about the veracity of China's reports.

Beijing's official growth target for 2019 was 6% to 6.5%, but Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said on Wednesday that GDP growth in 2019 was estimated to have grown more than 6%, Reuters reported.

China's GDP grew 6.0% on-year in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Analysts polled by Reuters forecast China's economy to have grown 6.0% in the October to December period of 2019.

In the third quarter of 2019, GDP growth in the world's second largest economy was 6% — the slowest pace since the first quarter of 1992, according to Reuters records.

The data came after President Donald Trump signed a partial trade deal with China on Wednesday after a prolonged trade fight between the U.S. and China for almost two years.

Other Chinese economic data released alongside the GDP numbers showed growth in industrial output and retail sales for the month of December.

Analysts read the data from Beijing positively, although there was still some caution about the partial trade deal with the U.S.

"The uncertainties faced by corporates are diminishing along with the progress in US-China trade negotiation since December," said Chaoping Zhu, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management.

"Although the US government maintained most of the tariffs on Chinese products, the signing of the phase-one trade deal is a signal that the situation is unlikely to deteriorate. Against this background, corporate confidence keeps improving in the recent months," Zhu added.

Tom Rafferty, principal China economist at The Economist Intelligence Unit said he expected China's growth to hold around 6% through 2020 as Beijing continues to stimulate the economy.

"While businesses and investors can afford to breath a sign of relief, after a difficult 2019, we still see risks to the China outlook as mainly weighted to the downside, given the fragile nature of the trade truce and the risks that still stalk China's financial markets," Rafferty added.

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