Friday, 18 October, 2019

At 6.2%, China Q2 GDP growth slows to 27-year low

China's economy grows at slowest pace since 1990s China’s growth slides to weakest pace in almost three decades
Russell Knight | 16 July, 2019, 15:39

United States President Donald Trump has seized on slowing economic growth in China as evidence that USA tariffs are having "a major effect", and he warned on Monday that Washington could pile on more pressure, as talks to end the trade war between the two countries continue sputtering along.

"China's retail sales of consumer goods surged 9.8 percent year-on-year in June, especially driven by the rapid growing online sales and this year's June 18 retail festival", Mao said at a news briefing held on Monday in Beijing.

Meanwhile, China's production of coke, used in steelmaking, rose 10.7% year-on-year in June to 41.69 million tonnes, with year-to-date output reaching 233.87 million tonnes, up 6.7%, the data showed.

On Monday, the National Bureau of Statistics of China reported that "the economic conditions are still severe both at home and overseas, the global economic growth is slowing down", the report said. That would test the lower end of Beijing's 2019 target range of 6-6.5 per cent.

The GDP number nevertheless highlights the negative impact the US tariffs stand-off is having on China as leaders also try to recalibrate its growth model from exports and state investment to one driven by consumer spending.

Beijing has introduced measures this year to boost the economy, but they have not been enough to offset a domestic slowdown and softening overseas demand made worse by a punishing trade war with its biggest trading partner country, the US. It has also responded by providing support to the economy by providing stimulus. In return, Trump backed off his threat to impose additional tariffs on Chinese goods and even greenlit the sale of technology to Chinese tech giant Huawei in spite of national security concerns.

High-level trade talks to resolve the issues resumed this month, but the gulf between the two sides remains wide.

The growth data for China was the weakest since the first quarter of 2009, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

Bond yields have been moving higher for several days, suggesting investors are confident the US economy will power ahead, at least for the next several months. This is as the country continues to tackle the trade negotiations with the largest economy in the world, the United States (US).

Analysts believe room for more aggressive monetary policy easing is being limited by fears of adding to high debt levels and structural risks.

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"Cutting the benchmark deposit and lending rates - the likelihood is very low".

Stocks have broadly rallied on the expectation that the Federal Reserve will soon begin cutting rates, making it cheaper for companies to borrow money.

China's retail sales of consumer goods rose 8.4 per cent year-on-year in the first half of 2019 to 19.52 trillion yuan (USD 2.85 trillion), the NBS data said.

Some analysts, however, questioned the apparent recovery in both output and sales.

Consumption appeared to play a bigger role in driving economic growth as it contributed 60.1 per cent to the economic expansion in the January-June period, which officials consider encouraging.

Vehicle dealers in China are offering big discounts to customers to reduce high inventories that have built up due to changing emission standards.

Monthly data for June was better than expected but likely doesn't mark the beginning of a turnaround, according to Capital Economics.

In the first half, the economy grew 6.3 percent compared with a year earlier.

The world's second-largest economy grew 6.2 percent over a year ago.

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