Growth in the world’s second biggest economy, China, slowed to its weakest pace for two and a half years at the end of 2011.
In the fourth quarter, China’s total economic output grew by 8.9 per cent. The figure for the year as a whole was 9.2 per cent.
They are still figures that stand head-and-shoulders above economic growth in the majority of the world, but analysts are warning that the Chinese slowdown has not stopped yet.
Nick Edwards, the chief economic correspondent for Reuters in China said: “You will see the import growth sustained in China, import growth from Europe, import growth from the U.S. helping the global economy. Still though, there is a downturn coming. Economists are very loathe at the moment to pinpoint exactly when the bottom of this cycle is going to come.”
With Europe on the brink of recession, and growth in the US struggling, China’s role in the world economy is key.
There is a widely-held belief among economists that growth this year in China will be the weakest for a decade, and a more pronounced slowdown would act as a brake on an already shaky global recovery.