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Survey: China GDP growth seen slipping below 6% in 2020, 2021

China's economic growth is expected to slip below the 6% mark in 2020 and 2021, despite a "phase one" trade deal between the U.S. and China, according to an average forecast of 26 economists surveyed by the Nikkei and Nikkei Quick News.

If the average holds true, it would mark the first below-6% growth rate since 1990, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

GDP expansion is expected to ease to 5.9% in 2020 and 5.7% in 2021, compared to a 6.2% growth rate expected in 2019. The Chinese government lowered its economic growth target for 2019 to a range of 6% to 6.5% from a target of 6.5% growth in the past two years.

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China's GDP grew 6.6% annually in 2018, slowing from the 6.8% growth recorded in 2017.

While an interim pact has eased trade tensions, at least for now, several survey respondents expect the next round of negotiations between the two largest economies to be more challenging.

American duties on Chinese products and sanctions on China's businesses, coupled with increasing food prices and tough financing conditions for corporates, are considered risks to Chinese growth, according to the survey.

The average forecast for Hong Kong was a 1.4% contraction in 2019, which would be the first full-year negative rate since 2009, with protests in Hong Kong continuing.