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China economy slows to record low as US trade war bites

China economy slows to record low as US trade war bites article image

China’s economic growth slowed to a record low of 6.2 per cent in the second quarter of this year as the ongoing trade war with the United States continues to take its toll on imports.

Gross domestic product (GDP) growth slid from 6.4 per cent in the first quarter, according to latest data published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Even during the global financial crisis in 2009, China’s quarterly GDP growth did not dip below 6.4 per cent.

The figure, however, still falls within the range of Beijing’s target growth rate for the year of between 6.0 to 6.5 per cent and was generally expected. The median forecast of a poll of analysts conducted by Bloomberg was 6.2 per cent, but some had predicted worse, with many having deep concerns about the effect of the trade war.

The data also showed that over the first half of the year, China’s economy grew by 6.3 per cent.

Other data released this week, mostly for the month of June, was better than expected.

Industrial production grows

Industrial production – a measure of the output of the industrial sectors in China’s economy, including manufacturing, mining and utilities – grew by 6.3 per cent from a year earlier.

This was up from 5.0 per cent growth in May, which was the lowest since February 2002, and well above the expectations of a poll of economists, which had predicted 5.2 per cent growth.

Fixed asset investment, the national spend on physical assets such as real estate, infrastructure or machinery, grew by 5.8 per cent in the January to June period compared to a year earlier, higher than the 5.6 per cent growth reported in May and above the Bloomberg poll median, which had predicted no change.

Retail sales grew by 9.8 per cent, up from May’s reading of 8.6 per cent. That had been a significant improvement on April’s 7.2 per cent growth, the lowest figure since May 2003, but with China’s imports declining by 7.3 per cent in June, concerns remain about consumption in China.

Retail sales growth was above the median estimate of the Bloomberg poll which had predicted 8.5 per cent growth for June.

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