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Data released by the Chinese government on Monday showed the economy growing at the slowest pace since 1990, but Chinese media took the slow growth as evidence of the Chinese economy’s “resilience” in the face of the U.S. trade war, presumably on the theory that it could have been much worse.
China’s economic growth slowed to 6.4 percent in the last quarter of 2018, bringing the overall rate for the year down to 6.6 percent. The rate in 2017 averaged 6.8 percent.
Analysts - China - Stock - Market - Jittery
AFP quoted analysts who believe “the worst is yet to come,” as China’s stock market gets more jittery, the currency grows weaker, infrastructure projects stall because government funds have been redirected to debt reduction, and consumers suffer from a combination of slow income growth and tight credit.
Furthermore, as AFP noted, Chinese government at all levels has a habit of fudging and falsifying economic data, so economic fundamentals might be in substantially worse shape than the disappointing fourth-quarter numbers suggest. Some analysts believe China’s growth rate could be fully 2 points worse than the official numbers indicate.
Media - Spin - Report - Global - Times
Chinese media did their best to put a positive spin on the economic report. 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.
The Global Times quoted analysts who felt China’s biggest problem is how to harness the amazing economic power its brilliant reforms will unleash once the U.S. trade war is no longer keeping it down:
Unilateralism - Protectionism - China-US - Trade - Tensions
“US unilateralism, protectionism, and the China-US trade tensions have affected market confidence, causing private sector investment to slow in China,” said Cong Yi, a professor at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics.
Trade frictions’ influence to market confidence became more apparent in the fourth quarter, weighing on China’s...
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