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China’s slowing economy will struggle to stage the kind of stunning recovery it achieved from the early depths of the pandemic two years ago, as its formidable export machine is teetering and options to revive investment and consumption are dwindling.

Analysts and policy insiders say that means China’s leaders may have to quietly accept economic growth of about 5% for this year, below Beijing’s current target of “around” 5.5%, and prospects of a slower “U-shaped” recovery, rather than a rapid “V-shaped” one.

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