China’s Economy Slows to 7.4 Percent in Q3

Posted October 17th, 2012 at 11:20 pm (UTC-5)
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China's economy grew by 7.4 percent in the third quarter, missing the government's target and falling to its slowest rate of growth since the global financial crisis.

The figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Thursday represent the seventh straight quarter of easing for the world's second largest economy.

Although 7.4 percent growth would be considered strong in many recession-struck countries, the figure is low for China, which has averaged annual growth rates of 10 percent for decades.

But Premier Wen Jiabao is still optimistic China can reach its target of 7.5 percent growth for this year, saying on Wednesday the economy is stabilizing and has been “relatively good” the past three months.

With Thursday's figures, growth in China for the first nine months of 2011 now stands at 7.7 percent, leading many economists to agree that the target will be met or exceeded.

The growth of China's economy has been slowing over the past year and a half. China's economy grew by 7.6 percent in the April-to-June period, the slowest advance in more than three years.

In comments posted Wednesday on the central government's website, Mr. Wen said he is confident China's economy is stabilizing and will continue to show “positive changes.”

The Chinese leader said the country's economic growth, much of it based on exports, “still faces considerable difficulty” in the last three months of the year.

Mr. Wen said it is “extremely difficult to expand external demand,” an apparent reference to Europe's stagnant economy and sluggish growth in the United States.