Though China’s GDP growth slowed to its lowest in 13 years, the country finished 2012 in a slightly stronger position reporting 7.9 percent growth in the last quarter, compared to 7.4 in the three months before. The overall growth rates for the year topped 7.8 percent, significantly higher than some estimates of 7.5 percent. The results are still the lowest since 1999.
The growth spurt in the fourth quarter, however, is definitely encouraging. “Overall the economy has been stabilising,” according to a statement released by the national statistics bureau. The growth has been mainly driven by renewed investments in infrastructure by the government, and the loosening of monetary policy, and mid-year interest rates cut. Exports, which had been uncharacteristically low throughout the year, also picked up towards the end of the final quarter. The figures also revealed a slight dip in investments in December, a worrying sign as the Chinese economy relies heavily on this income.
However, the new leaders are determined to invest in developing the domestic sector and boosting internal consumption in order to make the rebound more sustainable. “We should focus on changing the mode of economic development and improving the quality and efficiency of growth,” said the statistics bureau.
In the wake of the release of the figures, Asian stock markets responded positively, as did the Australian dollar.