"When China sneezes, the world catches a cold," according to one version of the old saying—and the country's economy appears to have at least a mild case of the sniffles. According to the latest figures from Beijing, China's economy grew by 6.6% last year, the lowest since 1990, the year after the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Guardian reports. Analysts warn that a slowdown in China could seriously affect global growth, especially since many economists suspect that the real figure is around half what Beijing reports. The slowing growth, which comes amid falling demand for exports and slower domestic spending, has put pressure on authorities to resolve the trade dispute with the US.
China's leaders have spoken for years about moving toward slower, more sustainable growth, but with growth slowing more than expected, authorities have boosted infrastructure spending ordered banks to start lending more to entrepreneurs, the AP reports. Infrastructure projects announced this month alone include three inter-city rail projects and six new municipal subways systems at a combined cost of $148 billion, reports the New York Times. The world should be concerned, because "slower growth in China means slower growth for the rest of the world," says BBC analyst Karishman Vaswani.. " It accounts for one-third of global growth. Jobs, exports, commodity producing nations—we all depend on China to buy stuff from us. (Apple blamed China's economy for a lower-than-expected recent earnings forecast.)