The 6.1% GDP growth rate for 2019 was near the bottom of Beijing's target range, and sharply down on the previous year's 6.6%. The country also reported that GDP grew by just 6% in the fourth quarter. The ongoing slowdown is indicative of all the challenges facing the world's second largest economy, which is contending with rising debt, cooling domestic demand and fallout from the trade war with the United States. Trade tensions, at least, cooled off somewhat before Friday's announcement. Beijing and Washington signed a "phase one" trade deal earlier this week, which removes a little bit of pressure, at least in the short term.