China’s GDP growth expanded by 7.4% in 2014, the slowest pace since 1990 and down from 7.7% in 2013, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.
This is also the first time that China missed the annual growth target since 1998.
For the fourth quarter of 2014, the economy grew 7.3%, beating market expectations and also unchanged from the previous quarter.
The actual GDP for the whole year is still above market expectations of 7.3%, as the services sector outperformed, driven by e-commerce, housing sales and stock market rally.
Looking ahead, Chinese authorities will likely tolerate a slower growth rate at around 7% under the framework of a "new normal" economy, and will strike a balance among social, environmental, and economic targets, according to a research report by ANZ.
Both ANZ and UBS AG are forecasting that China’s economy will further slow to an annual growth rate of 6.8% in 2015.