China’s economy grew at its slowest pace in nine years in the third quarter, as a campaign to tackle mounting debt and trade frictions with the US had an effect.
The world’s second largest economy expanded by 6.5 per cent in the July-to-September period year-on-year, according to official GDP figures released Friday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics.
The rate is down from 6.8 per cent and 6.7 per cent in the first and second quarters, respectively, but in line with a growth target of roughly 6.5 per cent for the year set by China’s economic policymakers.
“Faced with an extremely complex environment abroad and the daunting task of reform and development at home”, China’s economic growth remained generally steady, said NBS spokesman Mao Shengyong.
The trade row with the US comes at a tough time for China’s economy, which has been hit by the government’s efforts to tackle a mountain of debt, with credit tightening and infrastructure investment falling.
The data showed fixed-asset investment ticked up 5.4 per cent on-year in the January-September period from record lows the year earlier when Beijing was reining in spending on bridges, railways, and highways. Analysts say the slowing growth could prompt an end to Beijing’s fiscal prudence.
China’s cabinet has already indicated it will step up support and quicken infrastructure project approval in the coming months though experts do not expect the measures to kick in until next year. The gloomy export picture has reinforced the need for Beijing to rely on its legion of consumers to grow its economy.