China growth falls to 6.9 per cent

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China’s economy grew 6.9 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2015, below the 7-per-cent target that the government has set for the whole of 2015, official figures said Monday.

It was down from the 7-per-cent year-on-year increases recorded for each of the first two quarters of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

However, it beat earlier predictions of 6.8 per cent by economists, financial news agency Bloomberg reported.

“It is lower than official estimates but higher than my personal expectations,” said Hu Xingdou, professor of economics at the Beijing Institution of Technology.

“I think the more important thing is whether the economic transition has improved or not. If it has improved, then it is worth it to have a lower than 7 per cent figure,” Hu said.

China faces a transition from overreliance on manufacturing toward a growth model that Beijing wants to be driven by consumption and investment.

Analysts say China is struggling to meet its growth target for 2015 of about 7 per cent amid sluggish investment growth and falling exports.

“It will be difficult, but not impossible to reach the goal,” said Shanghai-based independent analyst Ye Tan.

“The government has protected the finance industry, and also invested a lot of money to protect the manufacturing industry in order to not let it decline too quickly,” she said.

Ye expects Beijing to continue fiscal stimulus measures amid growing concern over the slowing of the world’s second-largest economy.

China has revised down its estimate of 2014 GDP growth from 7.4 to 7.3 per cent, the weakest annual expansion in 24 years.

Chinese stocks closed mixed on Monday after recording substantial gains last week.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed down 0.14 per cent while the smaller Shenzhen index edged up 0.14 per cent.

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