Hong Kong | Asian stock markets edged down Tuesday following data showing China’s economy, the world’s second biggest and a key driver of global growth, logged its weakest performance in a quarter of a century last year. Official figures showed gross domestic product expanded 6.9 per cent, matching the government’s target of about seven percent and in line with a forecast in an AFP survey. However, it was much weaker than the previous year and highlights the job facing the country’s leadership as it struggles to recalibrate the growth engine. The sharp slowdown in China has sent shockwaves through markets from Asia to the Americas over the past six months, in a rout that has wiped trillions off valuations and fuelled fears of another global economic crisis.
The last three months registered growth of 6.8 per cent year-on-year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said. Shanghai’s stock market, which has already plunged almost 20 percent since the start of this year, rallied initially before paring the gains to sit 0.2 percent lower in characteristically volatile trade.
Hong Kong was also down 0.2 percent and Tokyo lost 0.7 percent by the break, while Seoul dipped 0.5 percent.
Beijing is trying to transform the nation’s growth model from investment and exports to one driven by domestic consumer demand. The structural transformation was still under way, the NBS said in a statement, adding it was 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.
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