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China Says Its Economy Met Its Targets

China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has published its latest economic data, which shows that the Chinese economy grew by 6.1 per cent in 2019.


Chinese authorities claim that this latest economic report is in line with their targets and expectations even with the effects of the trade dispute with the US. 


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said last year that China's economic growth was moderating and projected growth in 2019 was around 6.2 per cent but warned that the trade dispute with the US could derail growth.


Although the NBS figures may be close to the IMF's assessment, the important caveat in the IMF's report was the impact of the trade war, which China claims has not had a significant impact on its economic targets. However, the country has been accused in the past of massaging its economic data and there is mistrust among experts of their official economic figures.


The latest data represents the lowest GDP growth for China since 1990 although the authorities had set a target of between 6 per cent and 6.5 per cent. Other data released by China shows improving economic activity with growing retail sales and a jump in factory output and investment.


The economic data came after the US and China signed the Phase 1 trade deal to ease some of the tensions of the trade war between the two countries. The reality is that in spite of President Donald Trump's hyperbole about a 'transformative deal', it is only a partial agreement.


The agreement has changed none of the core issues that brought about the trade dispute. Yes, China has pledged to buy more US products and services, but it has not signed up to change its ways on intellectual property rights and forced technology transfer - critical to any lasting deal, nor has the Huawei issue been resolved.


The IMF's report on China last year rightly said that the trade dispute could significantly damage China's economic growth, and the Phase 1 agreement could yet unravel as it has failed to address the fundamental issues.

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