Oct 18, 2012

China - China's economy slows to 7.4% in Q3

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BEIJING: China said on Thursday its economy grew 7.4 per cent in the third quarter of this year, easing for a seventh straight quarter and underscoring its deepest slowdown since the global financial crisis.

The result dragged down growth in the world's second-largest economy to 7.7 per cent for the first nine months of the year, the National Bureau of Statistics said. China had previously set a target of 7.5 per cent for full-year growth.

The third-quarter growth figure matched a 7.4 per cent median forecast obtained in a Dow Jones Newswires poll of 14 economists.

Growth in the quarter was the slowest since 6.6 per cent recorded in the first three months of 2009 when China's economy was battling the effect of the global financial crisis. The economy grew 7.6 per cent in the second quarter of 2012.

China's economy, which grew on average more than 10 per cent in the decade through 2010, has slowed since early last year amid broader global woes in major export markets Europe and the United States.

Government efforts to curb the real-estate market have helped stabilise property prices but dampened demand in related sectors such as construction.

Authorities have tried to bolster growth this year by cutting interest rates twice in quick succession and slashing requirements for how much money banks must keep in reserve to encourage lending but with little success.

The statistics bureau, meanwhile, said production at China's factories, workshops and mines rose 9.2 per cent in September compared with the same month last year.

Fixed-asset investments rose 20.5 per cent in the first nine months of the year compared with the same period last year, it added. Fixed-asset investments are a key measure of government spending on infrastructure.

Retail sales, the main gauge of consumer spending in the world's second-biggest economy, rose 14.2 per cent in September, the bureau added.

- AFP/ck

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