Time to cue the sad music-2008 officially ended with a fizzle not a bang. Our kind friends at the NBS have just reported that China’s fourth quarter GDP grew by 6.8%, a far cry from the 9% seen in the previous quarter and the 10.6% in the first quarter. Exports were hit (surprise surprise) and the yearly GDP growth came in at 9%, making us yearn for the vintage year of 2007 when GDP grew by 13%. China seems committed to spending its way out of the slowdown. The State Council has announced it will drop US$124 billion into medical reforms over the next three years. The goal is to makeover oft-criticized public hospitals and boost participation in the basic medical insurance system to 90%. This is expected to help convince consumers to spend more as they won’t have to save all their cash for unexpected medical emergencies. While we’re on the topic of insurance, Moody’s announced a stable outlook for China’s property and casualty insurance industry. While 2009 may not repeat the growth seen in 2008, the industry could still see “relatively good growth opportunities.” That ought to make someone relatively happy.