The figures from the National Bureau of Statistics drags full-year growth down to 6.6 percent, the slowest annual pace since 1990.
"But if those remaining drivers of growth start to tank, then the trouble becomes very significant indeed", said James Laurenceson, deputy director of the Australia-China Relations Institute in Sydney.
While there's no denying the fact that China has done a marvellous job of pulling more than 300 million of its people out of poverty in three decades, much of its meteoric economic growth has been driven by debt.
"If we look at it from the point of view of economic data, it is generally accepted that the fourth quarter, as a rule, is most influenced by the global situation".
"The economy faces downward pressure", said Ning Jizhe, head of the National Bureau of Statics, at a news conference Monday.
Still, Ning insisted China can resist shocks, saying "the long-term trend of stability will not change".
A total of 15.23 million babies were born past year in China, a drop by about two million from that of 2017, the data said.
The economy faltered most at the end of the year, recording 6.4 per cent growth for the fourth quarter.
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"The number of newborns will continue plunging even after the country completely revoked its birth policy, unless the Chinese leadership made great efforts to boost births such as lowering the cost of education significantly", said Huang Wenzheng, co-founder of Cnpop.org, a non-profit organisation analysing China's population and birth policies. In December, gauges of consumption and factory output accelerated, while investment held up.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley said last week that they had turned bullish on the yuan, both because the People's Bank of China (PBOC) would refrain from intervening during trade talks and as companies convert more dollars into yuan ahead of Lunar New Year payments.
Production of plastics, metals and specialized industrial machinery accelerated, "suggesting warming expectations for a pick-up in investment", Chaoping Zhu of J.P. Morgan Asset Management said in a report. The RRR cut in 2019 will result in a net-800 billion-yuan (116.5 billion US dollars) into the financial system.
In this January 20, 2019, photo, a Chinese couple walk by a vacant shop lot as a worker, below, waits for customers at a clothing shop at a shopping mall in Beijing.
Donald Trump's tariffs on Chinese exports have not directly damaged GDP growth, the trade had instead hit hard at sentiment, triggering a slowdown in consumer spending and investment.
China´s exports to U.S. and the world also fell in December, reinforcing the need for its legions of domestic consumers to fuel the economy.
Washington has so far imposed tariffs of up to 25 percent on more than $250 billion worth of Chinese imports. "Production metrics and export orders are falling as the country's trade dispute with the USA drags on and other factors weigh on growth", CNBC reported. As pocketbooks snap shut, the downturn could worsen.
The number of people aged over 60 now constitute 17.9% of the Chinese population, adding to its demographic challenges and fuelling fears that the country might be headed towards economic stagnation like Japan.