Chinas National Bureau of Statistics revised the national growth rate for 2019 lower on Wednesday with major cuts in the manufacturing sector. The downward adjustment gives the country a lower base from which to report growth for 2020. GDP last year now rose only 6.0 to 98.65 trillion yuan 15.1 trillion, versus 6.1 as previously reported, the bureau said. The primary reason by far was a 503.8 billion yuan 77.15 billion reduction in manufacturing, or about 2 of the sectors original contribution to growth in 2019.
Trade tensions between the worlds two largest economies began to escalate in 2018, with friction rising the following year as both countries applied tariffs on goods from the other and the U.S. putting major Chinese technology companies on blacklists. Both countries reached a temporary truce with the signing of the phase one trade agreement in January 2020. The Statistics Bureau made the greatest upward changes to the tertiary, or services, industry, with information transmission, software and IT services rising 70.2 billion yuan.
China regularly revises its GDP figures, often toward the end of the year. Many doubt the accuracy of the statistics as local governments typically face political pressure to meet preset growth targets. This year, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the central Chinese government made a rare decision not to announce a GDP growth target. Analysts generally anticipate growth of around 2 in 2020.