China's economy grew at its weakest pace in 2-1/2 years in the fourth quarter as gross domestic product slowed to an annual rate of 8.9 percent from 9.1 percent in the previous three months, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday.

The slowdown was foreseen by economists who predicted fourth quarter growth at 8.7 percent. Full year growth came in at 9.2 percent. No revisions were made to prior quarters.