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China's 2019 economic growth weakens to 6.1% amid trade war

January 16, 2020 - 8:09 pm

BEIJING (AP) — China’s economic growth sank to a new multi-decade low of 6.1% in 2019 as consumer demand weakened and Beijing fought a trade war with Washington.

Government data Friday showed growth was down from 2018’s 6.6%, already the lowest since 1990. Economic growth in the three months ending in December held steady at the previous quarter’s level of 6%.

Chinese exporters have been battered by President Donald Trump's tariff hikes in a fight over Beijing's technology ambitions and trade surplus, though the overall impact on China's economy has been smaller than some forecasters expected.

Negotiators this week signed an interim trade deal under which Washington agreed to cancel additional planned tariff hikes and Beijing committed to buy more American farm exports. Tariff hikes already imposed by both sides remained in place.

Economic growth for 2019 was at the low end of the ruling Communist Party's official target of 6 to 6.5%. The party is trying to steer China to slower, more manageable growth but an abrupt downturn in activity and the clash with Washington have forced the ruling party to step up government spending and take other measures to support growth.

Factory output, consumer spending and investment all weakened in 2019.

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