The Chinese economy expanded steadily in the third quarter, offering further evidence of stability for the world’s second-largest economy.
Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded at an annualized 6.7% in the third quarter, following a similar gain in Q2 and forecasts calling for the same. The growth rate was in line with Beijing’s full-year target of between 6.5% and 7%.
Earlier this month, Chinese Premier Li said his country in the third quarter “not only extended growth momentum in the first half but showed many positive changes.”
Growth slowed to a 25-year low in 2015, but appeared to have stabilized in the first half of 2016. As a result, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently maintained its full-year outlook on China at 6.2%. The IMF described its global outlook as “subdued” as a result of Brexit shocks, volatile commodity prices and “ongoing realignments in China.”
The Chinese economy has been in a steady downtrend since the start of 2014. The slowdown intensified in 2015 but has since shown signs of moderation as policymakers aim to anchor the economy in consumption and services instead of traditional growth drivers tied to heavy manufacturing. In recent months, asset bubbles and rising debt levels have raised alarms about the health of the economy. Robust housing demand was largely responsible for analysts’ upbeat outlook on third quarter growth.
Beijing released a deluge of economic reports on Wednesday. Industrial production, a broad measure of factory output, rose just 6.1% in September down from 6.3% in August. Retail sales grew at an annualized 10.7%, compared to 10.6% in August. Meanwhile, annual fixed-asset investment expanded 8.2% in the January-September period, official data showed.
Economists forecast slight improvements for all three clutch indicators.