China Q3 GDP growth slips to nine-year low

Daniel Fowler
October 21, 2018

Data released Friday showed China's economic growth slowed more than expected in the third quarter, as weak industrial output data and the "severe worldwide situation" challenged the government's efforts to stabilize the economy and reach its growth targets.

The rate is down from 6.8 percent and 6.7 percent in the first and second quarters, respectively, but in line with a growth target of roughly 6.5 percent for the year set by China's economic policymakers.

"China-US trade frictions have affected the market, but frankly speaking, the psychological impact is greater than the actual impact and China and the US are now in contact", said Liu He, China's top economic policy maker in a Friday interview with official news agency Xinhua meant to reassure markets. The per capita disposal income of the average Chinese has increased by 8.8% as compared to the same period a year ago, signifying a 6.6% increased when inflation is taken into consideration.

The Chinese economy has lost momentum this year following government efforts to try to rein in high levels of debt.

Three of China's top financial officials launched a coordinated attempt to shore up confidence in the country's stock markets and economic prospects on Friday in an unusual expression of top-level concern over what one of them called "abnormal" share price falls.

The central bank will also support company development through private equity funds to help provide financing for companies undergoing financial difficulties, and use monetary policy tools to help commercial banks issue more loans, he added. The country's politically volatile trade surplus with the United States widened to a record $34.1 billion.

"In fact, China has good economic fundamentals, has made progress in preventing financial risks and has macro leverage ratio stability", he said.

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"We think more easing will still be needed in order to stabilize growth", Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at research firm Capital Economics, said in a note to clients Friday.

This saw China retaliate with 10 percent tariffs on $60 billion (£46 billion) of U.S. imports. Since July, it has imposed a 25 percent additional tariff on imported American vehicles.

Additionally, China is undergoing an internal restructuring of its economy in which the pillar of growth in 2017 became internal demand, accounting for 90 percent of the total, with its foreign trade amount up by 33 percent.

China's economic expansion decelerated for the second straight quarter.

The key to striking the balance is to properly implement the country's policies with supply-side structural reform at the core, Liu, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, told Chinese reporters.

The Shanghai Composite Index sunk to 2,487.81 yesterday, a new low since November 2014, while the Shenzhen Component Index met a similar fate as it shrunk to 7,192.21 - its lowest value since May 2014.

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