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China GDP growth moves lower than 7.5% annual target

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China's economy has slowed for the seventh consecutive quarter, recording an expansion of 7.4% in Q3 on the previous year.

The move, lower than the 7.5% target for the year, is the slowest period of growth since the first quarter of 2009 and even if the economy improves in the coming months, China is on track for its weakest annual growth since 1999. 

However, China is showing signs of being close to the bottom of its downturn, as investment, retail sales and production all accelerated at the end of the quarter, prompting Premier of the State, Wen Jiabao to say the worst was over, reported the FT.

Sheng Laiyun, spokesman for China’s national bureau of statistics said: “In the last quarter of [2012] , it is very likely that the Chinese economy will follow the trend seen in September – that is a modest recovery,”

“We have full confidence that we will achieve the full-year growth target [of 7.5%],” he added.

The third quarter reading of 7.4% is well below both last year’s 9.3% expansion and the nearly 10% average growth rate that China has notched up over the last three decades.

The latest data did show industrial production has accelerated in September, growing 9.2% from a year earlier, compared with 8.9% growth in August.

Fixed asset investment accelerated slightly from 20.2% growth in August to 20.5% growth in September, while retail sales growth jumped from 13.2% growth in August to 14.2% growth in September.

“Exports have gradually recovered, consumption has grown steadily, price inflation has clearly receded, the job market has been very good,” said Wen Jiabao.

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