Still, it's the downtrend that's key, considering all the buzz over the past decade or two about how China's supposedly about to overtake the U.S. as the world's dominant economy, blah, blah.
At WSJ, "China’s Economic Growth Slowest in 25 Years in 2015":
BEIJING—China recorded a pronounced deceleration in growth last year, affirming that a multiyear slowdown is biting the world’s second-largest economy harder and shows little sign of abating.Still more.
The growth rate, released by the government on Tuesday, moderated to 6.8% for the fourth quarter and 6.9% for 2015. The annual pace was the weakest in a quarter century, and the quarterly level undershot market expectations, posting its lowest reading since the financial crisis and signaling weakening economic momentum.
Tuesday’s figures put a grade on a tumultuous year that saw the slowdown’s impact spill over to global markets and batter the government’s reputation for competent economic management.
Chinese leaders held an economic policy meeting Monday with senior officials. While state media accounts projected a tone of determined optimism, President Xi Jinping also urged the officials “to stabilize short-term growth.” Premier Li Keqiang talked of “increasing downward pressure” on the economy, complicated by slack global demand.
“The real economy basically hasn’t picked up very well,” said Nomura Group economist Yang Zhao. “We’re going to have a choppier sea ahead of us.”
With growing debt and too much housing and factory capacity, economists—and even Chinese officials—project a tougher year ahead. The stock markets have stumbled into the new year, erasing gains from an unsteady recovery after a summertime crash. And, economists said, the tools the government has traditionally used to revive growth—infrastructure spending, easy credit and ramped-up exports—appear increasingly ineffective.
The 2015 growth rate reported by the government’s statistics bureau was down from the 7.3% gain reported in 2014. Doubts have been raised about the reliability of China’s economic data, though, and 2015’s reported rate sparked renewed concern that growth is slowing faster than the government is saying.
“China’s reported growth rate for 2015 raises many questions rather than providing full reassurance about the economy’s true growth momentum,” said Eswar Prasad, a professor of trade policy at Cornell University and the former head of the International Monetary Fund’s China division.
Fears over slowing momentum in China and Beijing’s handling of the economy have combined with concerns over plunging oil and commodity prices to pull down nervy global stock markets since the start of 2016...