As expected the slowdown in the Chinese economy saw 2018 GDP grow by 6.6% - the lowest annual growth rate for 29 years, supporting the picture of recent weaker performance seen in other indicators such as investment, retail sales, and industrial production.
Full year GDP growth clocked in at 6.6 per cent, the slowest since 1990.
China, which has generated almost a third of global growth in recent years, recorded GDP growth of 6.8 percent in 2017. While that sounds great from a US or European perspective, different standards apply to the previously booming Chinese economy, where 6.6 percent is the lowest growth rate since 1990.
China is responsible for around a third of the global economy, and slowing economic growth in China, in essence, means slowing economic growth around the world. In theory, China has wide latitude to boost domestic demand to offset the trade war hit on external demand. But exports contracted in December as the penalties began to dampen demand.
Figures from the bureau also showed that the economy grew by 6.4 percent in the final quarter of 2018.
Relations with top trading partner the United States deteriorated sharply a year ago after President Donald Trump hit roughly half of Chinese imports with new tariffs in an attempt to force trade concessions. While credit has been eased, the move has failed to lift fixed asset investment which grew by 5.9 percent past year, a significant drop from the 7.2 percent growth recorded in 2017.More news: Tsitsipas upsets Federer, makes Aussie Open Final 8
'The resilience of the Chinese economy derives from stable macroeconomic policies (.) At the micro level, China's decision makers pay more attention to the pro-cyclical and counter-cyclical adjustment, ' Xinhua news agency reported. The state-run Global Times, for example, called the growth rate "reasonable", insisted the consumer economy is still humming along and blamed American "unilateralism" for the loss of confidence in Chinese markets.
Slowing disposable income growth and tighter credit has hit consumer spending with auto sales falling last year for the first time in more than 20 years. Some analysts believe real growth levels are already much weaker than official data suggest. "It was a bad year, and it doesn't look like things are getting any better this year", Lu told reporters.
However, experts said China's main pressure comes from how to unleash the potential of its market via deepening economic reforms.
Growth rate for the quarter ending December was 0.1% lower than the 6.5% growth rate clocked in the previous quarter. 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.
Uncertainties over trade, China's slowdown and policy easing would cause the yuan's yield differences with the dollar to narrow, and place it under pressure, he said.
The number of people aged over 60 now constitute 17.9% of the Chinese population, adding to its demographic challenges and fuelling fears that the country might be headed towards economic stagnation like Japan.