China’s annual economic growth likely slowed to 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter, the weakest since the depths of the global crisis, a Reuters poll showed, which would keep pressure on policymakers to head off a sharper slowdown this year.
The expected slowdown in growth of the world’s second-largest economy, from 7.3 percent in the June-September quarter, means full-year would undershoot the government’s 7.5 percent target and mark the weakest expansion in 24 years.
Growth of 7.2 pct in October-December would be the weakest since Q1 2009, when the economy grew 6.6 percent as the worst of the global crisis passed.
Fourth-quarter GDP data will be announced on Jan. 20.
The poll of 31 economists showed bank lending, fixed-asset investment and factory output growth may have steadied in December, but factory price deflation likely worsened and consumer price inflation hovered near five-year lows.
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