China's economy grew at its weakest for almost a quarter of a century in 2014, official data has showed, with authorities describing slower expansion as the "new normal" and analysts tipping further deceleration this year.
The 7.4% announced by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) was slower than the 7.7% seen in 2013, but exceeded the median forecast of 7.3% in an AFP survey of 15 economists.
Growth in the world's second-largest economy during the final quarter came in at 7.3% year-on-year, the NBS said, matching the previous three months and beating the 7.2% median forecast in the AFP survey.
"China's economy has achieved stable progress with improved quality under the new normal in 2014," NBS chief Ma Jiantang said. "However we should also be aware that the domestic and international situations are still complicated and economic development is facing difficulties and challenges.
"The full-year result, the worst since 3.8% recorded in 1990, comes after one of the pillars of the global economy was hit by manufacturing and trade weakness as well as declining prices for real estate, which has hammered the key property sector.
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