China’s economy grew at its slowest pace in 24 years in 2014 as a cooling property market weighed on demand and is expected to lose more momentum this year, keeping pressure on policymakers to head off a sharper downturn. But analysts said a slightly better-than-expected performance in the fourth quarter could temper Beijing’s policy response, if the government and central bank believe the strains on the world’s second-largest economy are starting to ease. China’s economy grew 7.4 percent in 2014, official data showed on Tuesday, barely missing its official 7.5 percent target but the slowest since 1990. It expanded 7.7 percent in 2013. Fourth-quarter growth held steady at 7.3 percent from a year earlier, marginally better than expected, though it cooled from the previous three months. Few had expected China to meet its 7.5 percent full-year target, but the performance was better than feared at one point when credit collapsed, bad loans spiked and key activity indicators fell to multi-year lows. A series of modest support measures from the government over the year helped stave off worries of a more dramatic slowdown, without fueling a sharp rise in China’s mountain of debt which the country’s leaders are trying to avoid….
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