China economic growth slows

City A.M. Reporter
China's economic expansion slowed in the third quarter to its weakest pace since early 2009, but core domestic drivers of growth remained robust, suggesting little chance that monetary policy can be relaxed near term.

Gross domestic product rose 9.1 per cent in the third quarter from a year earlier, moderating from 9.5 per cent in the previous quarter as the pace of exports softens. The rise was slightly below forecasts for a 9.2 per cent increase.

Hong Kong and Australian stocks and oil prices slipped after the figures, which showed the economy's third-consecutive quarterly slowdown in annual growth and the weakest pace of expansion since 8.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2009.

But the slowdown does not signal a shift in monetary policy in response, said Stephen Green, economist at Standard Chartered in Hong Kong.

"GDP growth was surprising for the market on the downside," he said. "There is clearer deceleration in the third quarter. No change in policy. Small signs of ad-hoc loosening but no macro change in policy."

Fixed-asset investment -- the core driver of China's rampant economic growth - continued at a robust pace in the first three quarters of the year, chalking up annual growth of 24.9 per cent, slightly ahead of forecasts of 24.8 percent.