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China Q3 GDP grows more than expected on stimulus boost

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— China’s economy grew slightly more than expected in the third quarter, data showed on Wednesday, as sustained monetary stimulus and improving local consumption somewhat helped offset weak overseas demand and ructions in the property market. 

(GDP) grew 4.9% at an annualized rate in the three months to September 30, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed. The reading was more than expectations of 4.4%, but weaker than the prior quarter’s reading of 6.3%. 

On a quarterly basis, grew 1.3% in the third quarter from the second, beating expectations for growth of 1%, and accelerating from the 0.8% growth seen in the prior quarter. 

The readings come after the Chinese government rolled out a slew of monetary stimulus measures over the past three months, chiefly interest rate cuts and sustained liquidity injections by the People’s Bank of China. 

Domestic spending was seen picking up through the quarter, while a contraction in manufacturing activity appeared to have bottomed out. But consumer spending still remained well below pre-COVID levels, with China briefly slipping into disinflation territory earlier in the quarter. 

Ructions in the property market also weighed on growth, especially as home sales remained weak and as China’s biggest property developers faced a large-scale default. 

Local businesses were also struggling with weak overseas demand, as economic conditions in China’s biggest trading partners worsened this year. Foreign capital investment in the country also appeared to have dried up this year, while saw a sustained decline through the past quarter. 

Still, other economic indicators showed some signs of improvement through September, with and both growing more than expected in the month. 

While China logged stronger-than-expected GDP growth in the first two quarters of 2023, the trend was largely driven by a low basis for comparison in 2022. Quarter-on-quarter growth has remained weak this year.

Annual GDP is expected at 5% by the government, a figure widely regarded as conservative by analysts. A recent poll also suggested that GDP may trend below that level. 

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