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 It also is a desired outcome for the government, which has gradually withdrawn the monetary and fiscal stimulus that powered the recovery.