China’s GDP grows at 6.6% in 2018, showing resilience of economy amid trade tensions

Tehran, Jan 21, IRNA /Global Times - China's economy will maintain a reasonable growth rate in 2019, a statistics bureau spokesperson said on Monday, as the country posted a 6.6 percent growth rate for 2018.

China's GDP grew at 6.6 percent in 2018, above the 6.5 percent annual target set by officials at the beginning of the year, showing the resilience of the Chinese economy amid the lingering trade tensions with the US and a weaker global demand.

'We have confidence that China's economy will maintain a reasonable growth rate in 2019,' said Ning Jizhe, head of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Ning said China's confidence comes from the massive consumption power at home, with a middle class of more than 400 million, and new drives from tech and other innovative industries amid an economic upgrade.

China's GDP growth rate in 2018 ranked No.1 among the world's five largest economies, contributing about 30 percent to the global economic growth, said Ning.

China's economy grew 6.7 percent year-on-year in the first three quarters of 2018. The GDP grew 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter, according to NBS.

A rich talent pool, plenty of room for macro-economy policy adjustment, opening-up to the world and win-win cooperation with foreign countries will also contribute to the nation's strength in the coming years, according to Ning.

Amid a complex external environment and growing downside risks, China's GDP growth rate for 2018 was the lowest growth rate since 1990.

China's retail sales of consumer goods, an indicator of consumption, grew 9.0 percent year-on-year in 2018, slower than a 9.3 percent growth recorded for the first three quarters, according to NBS.

The nation's value-added industrial output, an important economic indicator, expanded 6.2 percent year-on-year in 2018, 0.2 percentage points lower than the first three quarters.

However, as government efforts to stabilize investment kicked in, the year-on-year reading for China's fixed-asset investment picked up to 5.9 percent in 2018 and faster than the 5.4 percent growth recorded for the first three quarters, official data showed.

'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 economic growth, said Cong.

'The China-US trade tensions, a hindrance to China's domestic economic transformation and upgrading, coupled with lack of confidence from investors, resulted in the nation's declining GDP growth in 2018,' said Dong Dengxin, director of the Finance and Securities Institute at Wuhan University of Science and Technology.

However, experts said China's main pressure comes from how to unleash the potential of its market via deepening economic reforms.

Even if the Sino-US trade friction continues in 2019, China's economic situation will not be worse than 2018 as it is now fully prepared for the future economic moves, said Dong.

Cong said China could achieve an eight percent GDP growth rate if it fully taps the country's potential.

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