BEIJING — China’s economy cooled further in the latest quarter, dragging 2015’s full-year growth to a quarter-century low and deepening a slowdown that has fueled anxiety over its impact on the global economy.
The world’s second-largest economy grew 6.9 percent in 2015, the government said Tuesday, down from 7.3 percent in the previous year. For the October-December quarter, growth inched down to 6.8 percent, the weakest quarterly expansion in six years
China’s growth has fallen steadily over the past five years as the ruling Communist Party tries to steer away from a worn-out model based on investment and trade toward self-sustaining growth driven by domestic consumption and services.
But the unexpectedly sharp decline over the past two years prompted fears of a politically dangerous spike in job losses. The slowdown has rippled around the world, crimping demand for South Korean electronics and Australian iron ore as well as Middle East oil and Brazilian soy
The Chinese slowdown and a plunge in Shanghai stock prices have prompted concern about a further loss of support from an economy once seen as an engine of global growth. That has depressed international financial markets even as the United States and Europe show signs of improvement
“Official data do not point to a hard landing in the fourth quarter of 2015, but they provide little reason to stop worrying about China’s drag on the global economy, either,” said economist Bill Adams of PNC Financial Services Group in a report
Growth was in line with private sector forecasts and the ruling Communist Party’s official target of about 7 percent for the year.
China’s Shanghai Composite jumped 3.2 percent and other Asian markets also rose. Investors were relieved that more pessimistic forecasts about fourth quarter growth were wrong and also expect Beijing to continue rolling out stimulus measures to prevent a hard landing