China's economic growth could slow to 7.1% in 2015 from an expected 7.4% this year, held back by a sagging property sector, the central bank said in a research report - seen by Reuters - over the weekend. 

Stronger global demand could boost exports, but not enough to counteract the impact from weakening property investment, according to the report.

China's exports are likely to grow 6.9% in 2015, speeding up from this year's 6.1% rise, while import growth is seen accelerating to 5.1% in 2015 from this year's 1.9%, it said. 

The report warned that the US Federal Reserve's expected move to raise interest rates sometime next year could hit emerging-market economies. 

Fixed-asset investment growth may slow to 12.8% in 2015 from this year's 15.5%, while retail sales growth may quicken to 12.2% from 12%, it said. 

China's economic growth weakened to 7.3% in the third quarter, and November's soft factory and investment figures suggest full-year growth will miss Beijing's 7.5% target and mark the weakest expansion in 24 years. 

Economists who advise the government have recommended that China lower its growth target to around 7% in 2015.