China: Economy grows at slowest pace in three years
October 18, 2012
In the third quarter, GDP grew 7.4% over the same period last year, which was below the 7.6% rise observed in the second quarter and represented, in fact, the slowest growth rate seen since Q1 2009. That said, the reading came in line with market expectations. Although the National Bureau of Statistics does not provide a breakdown of GDP by expenditure, additional data suggest that private consumption moderated in the third quarter, while investment picked-up. In the first nine months, urban fixed-asset investment growth, which includes capital and construction investment, expanded to an accumulated 20.5% in nominal terms (H1 2012: +20.4% year-on-year), reflecting government efforts to speed up infrastructure projects as a way of boosting economic growth. On the other hand, private consumption appears to have lost some steam, with retail sales adding a nominal 13.5% in the third quarter, which is below the 13.9% rise observed in the second. Net exports, on the other hand, probably increased their contribution to overall growth in the third quarter, as imports slowed at a fastest pace than exports in the third quarter. GDP from the production side showed that the industrial sector continues to moderate and only expanded 8.1% until September (H1: +8.3% yoy), while services rose 7.9% (H1: +7.7% yoy). Meanwhile, growth in the primary sector inched down to 4.2% (H1: +4.3% yoy). A quarter-on-quarter analysis, however, does not corroborate the deceleration suggested by annual figures, as GDP rose a seasonally adjusted 2.2% in the third quarter, above the 2.0% expansion recorded in the second.