China Says Economic Growth Fell to Lowest in 30 Years

TOPSHOT - Dragon dancers perform at a park in Beijing on the fourth day of the Lunar New Year on February 8, 2019. - China is marking the arrival of the Year of the Pig with a week-long Spring Festival holiday, the most important festival of the year. (Photo by …
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China’s economy last year grew at the slowest rate in three decades and the country’s birth rate fell to the lowest level on record.

Gross domestic product grew just 6.1 percent in 2019, according to data released Friday by China. That was below forecast but within the 6.1 percent to 6.5 percent rate the Chinese government says it targets.

China’s economy was weighed down by U.S. tariffs, high levels of food inflation, wavering confidence due to political unrest in Hong Kong, weak consumer spending, and rising unemployment.

Experts say that China’s economic figures are more accurate than they were in the past, when many regional reports appeared to be based on local officials’ attempts to provide their superiors in the ruling Communist Party with the numbers they believed were desired rather than a matter-of-fact assessment of the economy. Yet China’s economy remains clouded by so much opacity and state-involvement that it remains difficult to know how accurate the economic figures are.

On average between 1978 and 2017, China’s economy expanded 9.5 percent per year, according to official statistics.

The birth rate in China dropped to a record low of 1.05 percent in 2019, the lowest level on record.

Investment in manufacturing investment declined by a record 3.1 percent last year, the clearest sign of the trade war weighing on the economy.

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