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This was a 13 year low for China, with growth rate down from 9.3 per cent in 2011 and 10.4 per cent in 2010.
However, the economy’s fourth-quarter growth showed signs of reviving.
It had quickened to 7.9 per cent on strong trade data as well as improving consumption and investment figures.
The rate, which ended a seven-straight-quarter slowdown, was up from 7.4 per cent in the third quarter, 7.6 per cent in the second and 8.1 per cent in the first.
According to preliminary statistics, China’s GDP in 2012 reached 51.93 trillion yuan ($8.28 trillion).
Other economic indicators were more positive.
Retail sales, a key indicator of consumer spending, rose 15.2 per cent from a year earlier in December, up from 14.9 per cent in November.
The growth of industrial production accelerated to 10.3 per cent year on year in December from November’s 10.1 per cent pace.
Fixed-asset investment, a measure of government spending on infrastructure, also increased 1.53 per cent from November to December.
China’s exports, a key driver of the economy, also trumped market forecasts to grow 14.1 per cent year on year in December, up from November’s 2.9 per cent, customs data showed last week.
China’s new leader and general secretary of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping had earlier vowed “No stop in reform, and no stop in opening up,” promising to stick to China’s economic reforms to build up a socialist market economy.