According to official yet preliminary data released by the National Bureau of Statistics of China on Friday, the Chinese economy grew by 6.1 percent in 2019. While that sounds great from a U.S. or European perspective, different standards apply to the world’s second largest economy, where 6.1 percent GDP growth equates to the worst result since 1990.
Lackluster domestic demand paired with the cooling effects of the trade war with the United States contributed to the slowdown, continuing a downward trend that has been going on for several years. In early 2019, the Chinese government had announced a 1.3 trillion yuan ($193 billion) stimulus package to bolster the economy, a measure that helped the country meet its target of at least maintaining 6 to 6.5 percent growth in 2019.
Looking at quarterly growth rates, it appears as if China’s slowdown may have bottomed out in the last three months of 2019, when GDP growth remained stable at 6 percent. Stabilizing at the current level of growth is also what Chinese officials are aiming for in 2020, although the NBS warned that the economy is faced “with mounting downward pressure“ as “global economic and trade growth is slowing down” and “instability sources and risk points are increasing.”
China’s economy is closely watched internationally, as many international corporations consider it a key market in reaching their own growth targets. As our chart illustrates, the Chinese GDP saw double-digit growth for large parts of the first decade in the new millennium until a wider slowdown set in around 2010.