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China GDP growth slows to 7.3% in Q3

CHINA'S economy grew at the slowest pace in more than five years in the third quarter, but major activity indicators pointed to stabilization in September, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed today.

Analysts said the third-quarter growth of 7.3 percent -- the weakest since the first quarter of 2009, was led by the property sector. The pace compared with the rise of 7.5 percent in the second quarter and 7.4 percent in the first three months.

However, the recent stabilization means massive policy easing would be unlikely, and the country would stick to its efforts on economic restructuring on the road to "new normal," analysts said.

In the first three quarters, China's gross domestic product amounted to 41.99 billion yuan (US$6.8 billion), up 7.4 percent on an annual basis.

"Despite the slowdown, China's economy managed to realize a generally stable growth this year with relatively low inflation and high employment," said Sheng Laiyun, a spokesman at the bureau. "The country integrated economic reforms into its general policies, ensuring the improvement of people's livelihood and keeping the growth at a reasonable range to sustain the growth momentum."

Sheng said the moderation in the third quarter was a combined result of the high comparative base last year, the deepening of economic restructuring and a weak real estate market.

Zhou Hao, an economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, said the third-quarter growth, though looking dismal, was better than expected compared with previous market forecast.

"Looking ahead, we see that China's growth momentum will pick up modestly in the final quarter, but massive policy easing is unlikely," Zhou said.


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