China’s fourth quarter GDP growth dented by services, agriculture despite construction rebound

Economic activity suffered a sharp drop in the fourth quarter of last year

Economic activity suffered a sharp drop in the fourth quarter of last year

China's economy grew 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 from a year earlier, official data showed on Monday, in line with expectations and slower than the previous quarter's 6.5 percent growth.

On this occasion, prior to the release of the latest data, the government revised down the growth figure for 2017 from 6.9 to 6.8 percent.

A top Chinese research institution projected the population could start shrinking as soon as 2027 - three years earlier than expected - if the birth rate held steady at 1.6 children per woman.

But it was consumers in rural China whose spending showed a really big leap - the average spend for the year was 12,124 yuan per head ($1,757), up 10.7% from the previous year.

"As the U.S. and China clash on many fronts, consumer sentiment appears to have been hurt".

China added almost a third of the approximately $23 ten added to global GDP in the 10 years up to 2017.

China's expansion was the slowest since the 2009 financial crisis last quarter, as the government grapples with a debt cleanup and ongoing trade war with the United States. A clear majority said the chances of Japan going into recession this year had risen. Copper is technically in a bear market with the price plunging more than 20% since peaking in June 2018 over fears of the impact of the trade dispute between China and the US.

Signs of further cooling in China are stoking worries about risks to the world economy, according to DZ Bank analyst Sebastian Fellechner.

More importantly, employment and wage growth are facing downward pressure this year.

The World Bank report produced earlier this month warned of "storm clouds" with lower growth expected in the major economies.

It also marks the lowest official birth rate in China since 1961 (11.87 million), the past year of China's great starvation, during which millions of people starved to death and the birth rate plummeted.

Cutting its forecast for global growth by 0.1 percent from its October prediction to 3.5 percent, the International Monetary Fund said the main reason for the change was weakness in Europe and Japan. "On one hand, families are getting smaller, reducing support for the elderly; on the other hand, the elderly population to workforce is growing, which increases the burden on the working population", He said.

Still, China's total population rose by 5.3 million in 2018 to 1.395 billion people, retaining its title as the world's most populous nation.

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. So it could be entirely possible that the Chinese saw President Donald Trump's trade war - in response to domestic American economic pressures - coming. They note the government's move on Friday, just ahead of Monday's data release, to cut the 2017 growth rate to 6.8% from 6.9%, which they said provides a slightly lower base, giving a slight boost to the fresh 2018 data.

China adopted the universal second-child policy at the beginning of 2016, allowing all couples to have two children, to counter problems such as ageing and dwindling workforce. "I think more needs to be done by the government".

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