18 Oct 2012

China's growth slows again but signs of pick-up

8:01 pm on 18 October 2012

China's economic growth slowed further in the third quarter as the European debt crisis and a weak recovery in the American economy hurt demand for its goods.

The economy grew 7.4% in the three months to the end of September compared with a year earlier, down from a 7.6% growth rate in the previous quarter.

However, other data released showed a jump in factory output, retail sales and investment in September.

Analysts say the data indicate China's economy may be stabilising, the BBC reports.

With demand for the country's exports falling lately, there had been fears of a sharp economic slowdown. These figures suggest, however, that things may be starting to pick up again.

Industrial production rose by a more-than-expected 9.2% in September from a year earlier. That was up from 8.9% growth in August.

Meanwhile, retail sales during the month were 14.2% higher than a year ago, signalling that domestic consumption is growing.

"The September data indicates economic momentum has picked up strongly compared with July and August," says Zhang Zhiwei, the chief China economist at Nomura in Hong Kong.

The latest numbers come after trade figures released over the weekend showed a 9.9% year-on-year growth in exports during September, a big jump from the 2.7% growth recorded in the previous month.

Mr Zhang says the latest data "helps reinforce our view that growth will rebound visibly in the fourth quarter".