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(2nd LD) China's 2015 economic growth decelerates to 25-year low

All News 15:09 January 19, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS quotes in last 4 paras; RECASTS first 3 paras)

BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Yonhap) -- China reported its weakest annual economic growth in a generation last year, official data showed Tuesday, fanning concerns about the health of the Chinese economy and its impact on emerging markets.

The world's second-largest economy grew 6.9 percent last year, compared with 7.3 percent expansion in 2014.

Last year's economic growth marked the slowest expansion since 1990, when China posted 3.8 percent growth a year after the bloody crackdown against the pro-democracy movement at Tiananmen Square.

China's economy expanded 6.8 percent in the fourth-quarter of last year, down from 6.9 percent from the previous quarter.

The quarterly figure also marked the slowest expansion of the Chinese economy since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Softening trade and manufacturing have fueled concerns about the Chinese economy, which has been struggling with stock market routs and mounting debts to local governments.

Chinese leaders are trying to transform their export-oriented economy into a consumption-led one.

The efforts to transform the Chinese economy "are in a crucial period during which challenges need to be overcome and problems need to be resolved, and the task of comprehensively deepening the reform is still heavy," the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) of China said in a statement.

China's growth in property investments plunged to 1 percent last year from 10.5 percent, according to the NBS data.

The annual growth of China's urban fixed-asset investments also slowed to 10 percent last year compared with a 15.7 percent expansion in 2014.

Wang Baoan, chief of the NBS, told reporters that the Chinese economy this year will face a "similar situation" to last year.

"China's economic growth still faces a complicated international situation," Wang said in a press conference.

The International Monetary Fund forecast that China's economy would grow at a pace of 6.3 percent this year.

Chao Heping, an economics professor at Beijing University, told state-run China News Service that China failed to meet its growth target last year as "downward pressure is being intensified."

kdh@yna.co.kr
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