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China: Growth moderates slightly in Q3

October 19, 2015

GDP in Q3 slowed slightly growing 6.9% over the same period last year. The print was just below the 7.0% growth tallied in the previous period and marked the weakest growth rate since the height of the financial crisis in 2009, but still overshot the 6.7% increase that FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists had expected.

Although the National Bureau of Statistics does not provide a breakdown of GDP by expenditure, additional data suggest that weakness in investment and exports was partly offset by robust consumption growth and falling imports. Urban fixed-asset investment, which includes capital and construction investment, expanded an accumulated 10.3% in nominal terms in the first nine months of the year, which was down from the 11.4% increase recorded in the first half of 2015. However, growth in nominal retail sales picked up in Q3 (Q2: +10.2% year-on-year; Q3: +10.7% yoy). On the external side of the economy, despite contracting exports, a sizable drop in imports propelled a rise in the trade surplus in Q3.

According to the production approach, economic activity in Q3 moderated as a result of slightly-weaker growth in the all-important industry, which recorded the weakest result since Q1 2009. In contrast, growth in services and agriculture picked up in the third quarter, highlighting that growth in China is gradually swinging from the manufacturing sector to services.

On a quarterly basis, GDP expanded a seasonally-adjusted 1.8% in Q3, mirroring the second quarter’s result.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists’ projection is in line with the Chinese government’s 2015 growth target as they expect GDP to expand 6.8% in 2015, which is unchanged from last month’s estimate. In 2016, the panel foresees slightly lower economic growth of 6.5%, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s projection.


Author: Ricard Torné, Lead Economist

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China GDP Chart


China GDP Q3 2015

Note: Year-on-year changes of GDP in %
Source: National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS) and FocusEconomics calculations.


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