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China's 2022 growth one of the worst on record

STORY: China's economic growth in 2022 slumped to one of its worst levels in nearly half a century.

Data released from the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday showed GDP expanded by 3% last year, badly missing the official target of around 5.5%.

The figures highlight how China's economy has been weighed down by stringent COVID curbs and a property market slump.

Other indicators such as retail sales and factory output, beat expectations for December but were still weak.

The data puts pressure on policymakers in Beijing to unveil more stimulus this year.

Last month, Beijing abruptly lifted all its strict anti-virus measures that had severely restrained economic activity.

However, the relaxation has led to a sharp rise in COVID cases that economists say might hamper near term growth.

Also in December, top leaders pledged to focus on stabilizing the economy in 2023 and step up policy support to ensure key targets are hit.

Economists are optimistic, anticipating China's growth to rebound this year as it reopens to the world.

But policymakers still face a host of challenges including demographic ones.

Tuesday's data revealed China's population to have fallen in 2022 for the first time since 1961, a historic turn that is expected to mark the start of a long period of decline in its citizen numbers.

Asian shares dropped after the Chinese data, while the yuan skidded to a one-week low.