China’s GDP growth starts to slow down

City A.M. Reporter
China’s growth ebbed in the third quarter while inflation edged higher, suggesting that the world’s second-largest economy was far from overheating and that an interest rate rise this week may be enough for now.

Economic growth dipped to 9.6 per cent in the third quarter from a year earlier, down from 10.3 per cent in the second quarter, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. The consensus expectation was a 9.5 per cent pace.

The data published yesterday was broadly in line with forecasts, but was still something of a surprise after China’s unexpected rate rise on Tuesday prompted speculation growth and inflation would be much stronger than expected.

Annual inflation rose in September to 3.6 per cent, reaching a 23-month high and smack in line with forecasts. Excluding food prices, inflation slowed.

But industrial output -- a key indicator of growth momentum -- eased to a 13.3 per cent year-on-year increase, its lowest pace in 13 months.

“Chinese officials are likely feeling quite pleased with the way the data are playing out,” said Brian Jackson, a HongKong-based economist with Royal Bank of Canada.

“Policy measures put in place earlier this year appear to have helped steer the Chinese economy through a middle course between overheating and a serious downturn,” he added.

Much of the slowdown can be explained by a higher base of comparison after China’s rebound last year from the global financial crisis. It also is a desired outcome for the government, which has gradually withdrawn the monetary and fiscal stimulus that powered the recovery.