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As China's economy grows, so does reform call

Updated: 2013-10-20 10:14
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - China's economic rebound in the third quarter of 2013 has taken some pressure off its leaders, but weakening economic trends toward the end of the period left them still needing to further steer structural reforms.

China's gross domestic product (GDP) rose 7.8 percent in the July-September quarter compared with one year earlier, accelerating from the second quarter's 7.5-percent increase and a rise of 7.7 percent in the first quarter.

Growth in the first nine months of the year was 7.7 percent, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Friday.

As China's economy grows, so does reform call

The third-quarter result is in line with market expectations and keeps the country on track to meet its 7.5-percent annual growth target for the year, though growth may dip again in the final quarter.

Peng Wensheng, analyst at the China International Capital Corp., forecast GDP growth would ease to 7.5 percent in the fourth quarter because of a high comparative base from last year. He expects growth to rebound again in the first half of 2014.

NBS spokesman Sheng Laiyun summed up the economic situation as "stable with major indicators staying within the rational range" and predicted the trend would continue in the following period.

However, the optimism was eroded by a softening momentum in September, which is indicated by a slower growth in industrial output, fixed asset investment and retail sales. Sluggish global demand also weighed on growth, with exports unexpectedly down 0.3 percent year on year last month.

Although economists have ruled out imminent threat for the world's second-largest economy, they believe policy makers are still under pressure to spur domestic demand, with the recovery momentum remaining tepid.

After three decades of fast expansion, China has been trying to shift from an export-driven growth model toward one that is driven much more by domestic demand. That contributes to a slowdown from the double-digit growth registered in previous years.

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