A labourer looks from the top of a wall bearing an image of Beijing's business district at a construction site for a new commercial building in Beijing January 20, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
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China's economy grew at its slowest pace in 24 years in 2014 as property prices cooled and companies and local governments struggled under heavy debt burdens, keeping pressure on Beijing to take aggressive steps to avoid a sharper downturn.For investors worried about growth in China and the world this year, the data poses two questions:Fourth-quarter growth held steady at 7.3 percent from a year earlier, slightly better than expectations.The IMF predicts China's economy will grow 6.8 percent in 2015, while the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists sees an expansion of around 7 percent.However, growth in fixed asset investment, a key growth driver, eased to 15.7 percent in the whole of 2014 from the previous year, hovering near a 13-year low.Investment growth in real estate slowed to a five-year low and new construction slumped, even as home sales improved at the end of the year.With China's growth seen cooling further this year, more support measures are still expected, though economists are divided over what tools policymakers will use and when.
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