BEIJING — China's economic growth slowed to 6.9 per cent in the third quarter, authorities in the world's second-largest economy said on Monday, as global markets worry about its prospects.
The figure released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) was the worst for more than six years, although it was marginally above the median forecast in a poll of analysts by AFP.
As the world's biggest trader in goods and a giant market in itself, China is a key driver of the global economy, and stock exchanges around the world have been pummelled in recent weeks by concerns over its future.
Monday's figure is the first official confirmation of investors' fears over GDP since a Chinese stock market slump over the summer followed by a surprise currency devaluation in August.
An NBS spokesman described the decline as a "slight slowdown" but said the economy was still running within a "proper range". The spokesman said in a statement that "internal and external conditions are complicated", acknowledging that "downward pressure for economic development still exists".
China's GDP expanded 7.3 per cent last year, the slowest pace since 1990, and at 7.0 per cent in each of the first two quarters of this year.
Beijing has set a target of "around 7 per cent" for growth this year.
Industrial production, which measures output at factories, workshops and mines, rose 5.7 per cent year-on-year in September, the NBS said, a sharp drop on the 6.1 per cent increase recorded in August.
Retail sales, a key indicator of consumer spending, increased 10.9 per cent in September, marginally ahead of expansion the previous month.
Fixed asset investment, a measure of government spending on infrastructure, expanded 10.3 per cent on-year in the January-September period. — AFP