China’s economic growth slows more as trade slumps
BEIJING – China’s economic growth slowed further in the latest quarter as trade weakened and Beijing clamped down on a credit boom and promised to launch a new round of reforms.
Economic output rose 7.5 percent over a year earlier in the three months ending in June, down from 7.7 percent the previous quarter, the government reported Monday. Growth in factory output, investment and other indicators weakened.
Growth in the world’s second-largest economy has declined, though to still-robust levels, as global demand weakens and regulators try to cool a bank lending boom they worry could race out of control.
“Major indicators are within our targeted range but we face a complex situation,” statistics bureau spokesman Sheng Laiyuan said at a news conference.
Sheng said the government’s goal is to “promote restructuring” and make more of the “driving force” of the market.
Despite the slowdown, communist leaders have expressed determination to stick to plans aimed at nurturing slower and more sustainable growth driven by domestic consumption instead of trade and investment.
Chinese leaders have promised to launch reforms aimed at making the economy more productive and helping entrepreneurs but no major changes are expected until after a Communist Party meeting in the autumn.
The ruling party’s growth target for the year is 7.5 percent — stronger than forecasts for the United States, Europe and Japan, but China’s weakest performance since 1991. Finance Ministry Lou Jiwei appeared to try to lower expectations last week when he told reporters in Washington that growth as low as 6.5 percent would be tolerable.
Trade in June plunged abruptly, falling by 3.1 percent, well below forecasts of an expansion in the low single digits.
A decline in Chinese economic activity could have global repercussions, denting revenues for suppliers of commodities and industrial components such as Australia, Brazil and Southeast Asia. Lower Chinese demand already has depressed global prices for iron ore, copper and other raw materials, cooling an economic boom for exporters.