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Updated 20:36 13/12/19

Trump revels in China’s slowest economic growth figures for 27 years

Liam Sheasby

By Liam Sheasby, News Editor

17 Jul 2019

New figures released yesterday have revealed that China’s economy is experiencing its slowest growth rate since records officially began 27 years ago. The Chinese economy slowed down from 6.4% to 6.2% in the second quarter of 2019; the slowest pace of growth since Q1 1992.

Some experts believe that this might actually be the Asian powerhouse’s worst performance since the economic fragility of the late 1980s – a period of mass protests that resulted in martial law and the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.

Mao Shengyong, spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the director general of the Department of Comprehensive Statistics, said: “In general, the national economy operated within a reasonable range in the first half of the year, having achieved generally stable growth while making further progress. However, we must also note that the current domestic and international economic situation remains complicated and severe.

“Global economic growth has slowed down, external instability and uncertainties have increased, and the problem of domestic development imbalance is still outstanding, while the economy faces new downward pressures.”

US president Donald Trump took to his Twitter account to boast about how effective he believed the trade war was in America’s favour and how key it was to China’s diminished performance.

Chinese officials continue to stress that the new, lower growth rate is still between the 6% and 6.5% target range set for 2019, and with retail sales and industrial production levels both higher year-on-year, it’s clear that China’s stimulus package to compensate for the trade war is working – though how sustainable it is is a different matter.

Despite President Trump’s bold claims, it’s not just China that’s suffering from the trade war. The United States’ trade deficit is at a 10-year high as of last year, and the trade gap with China – which Trump sought to shrink – has widened. Another concern is President Trump’s argument is that China is paying the trade tariffs. Trade tariffs only apply to imports from a nation, meaning that American not Chinese companies are stumping up the cash for goods from China. It’s fair to say that demand for Chinese products has suffered, but in some cases dealing with China is the only supply line and must be pursued.

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