Economic growth in China slowed to its lowest level in nearly 30 years in 2019 amid a deadly trade war with the United States, and more stimulus is expected this year, as Beijing tries to further slow investment and demand.
But data released on Friday also showed that the world's second largest economy had ended the difficult year somewhat more steadily as a truce revived business confidence, and measures to boost early growth appear to be declining.
As expected, China's growth slowed to 6.1% last year, from 6.6% in 2018, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. Although still strong by international standards, and within the government's targeted range, it has been the weakest expansion since 1990.
This year is crucial for the ruling Communist Party to achieve its goal of doubling gross domestic product and income in the decade to 2020, and turning China into a "prosperous, middle" country.
GDP for the last quarter of 2019 increased by 6.0% from the previous year, and stabilized from the third quarter, although it remains the weakest in nearly three decades. Industrial production, investment and retail sales for December increased more than expected after performance improved in November.
According to political sources, Reuters that Beijing plans to set a target of 6% less growth this year compared to 6-6.5% last year, relying on increased spending on infrastructure to stave off a sharp slowdown. The main goals are slated to be announced in March.
On a quarterly basis, the economy grew 1.5% in the last quarter, the same pace it had been in the previous three months.