China’s economy slows to weakest pace since 2009

Delivery drivers have seen a fall in jobs

China is expected to report on Monday that economic growth cooled to its slowest in 28 years in 2018 amid weakening domestic demand and bruising us tariffs, adding pressure on Beijing to roll out more support measures to avert a sharper slowdown.

The world's second-largest economy expanded by 6.6 percent from a year earlier, down from 2017's 6.9 percent, official data showed.

The 6.6 per cent growth comes in above the official target of around 6.5 per cent and matches a forecast by analysts polled by AFP, but is down from the 6.8 per cent chalked up in 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The pace marked the fastest among the world's top five economies, noted Ning, adding that China contributed to almost 30 percent of the world's economic growth and remained the largest contributor to global growth.

The Chinese economy has recorded its lowest annual growth rate since 1990 amid indications that the trade war launched by the U.S. is starting to make an impact. The female population in China aged between 15 and 49, which the NBS defines as "child-bearing age", fell 4 million in 2017. The move comes a little over a week after reports that USA and Chinese officials had made progress on efforts to get China to nail down plans to purchase increased amounts of US agricultural, energy, and manufactured goods and services, Reuters reported on January 10.

China's economy grew 6.6% in 2018, its slowest pace in nearly 30 years.

Trade negotiators are facing an early March deadline and Washington has threatened to sharply hike tariffs on Chinese goods if there are no substantial signs of compromise from Beijing.

The retail sales breakdown also went some way to counter fears of a slump in consumer confidence, showing that the decline in auto sales far outpaces any weakening in other items. But previous year, the number of newborn babies dropped to 96,903, down 15.7 per cent from 2017, according to figures from Wenzhou government.

Ning added that China's economy remained "steady overall".

Having been a stellar performer benefiting from supportive policies, the tech sector still grew at double-digit rate but growth slowed to 29.1 percent in the fourth quarter compared with 32.8 percent in the third.

China's economic slowdown is not news in itself.

The number of women between the ages of 20 and 39 is expected to drop by more than 39 million over the next decade, said He Yafu, a demographer and author of a book on the impact of China's population policy. Better educated young Chinese face more complicated but also more varied job prospects and are less inclined than their parents to marry and start a family. Several economists are sceptical about China's official growth numbers, saying the actual rate is usually 30-40 basis points (100bps = 1 percentage point) lower than what is reported by official agencies, more so at a time of declining performance. "It was a bad year, and it doesn't look like things are getting any better this year", Lu told reporters.

China's economy is closely watched internationally, as many global corporations consider it a key market in reaching their own growth targets.

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