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GDP grows 9.9% in first three quarters
By Rong Xiandong (
Updated: 2008-10-20 10:10

China's economy grew 9.9 percent year on year in the first three quarters of this year, according to official figures released on Monday, showing a trend of slowdown amid the current global financial crisis.

The growth rate was 2.3 percentage points lower than the same period of last year, or 0.5 percentage points lower than the first quarter of this year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Monday.

The GDP growth was 10.6 percent for the first quarter, 10.1 percent for the second quarter and then dropped to 9 percent for the third quarter, the lowest in five years.

NBS Chief Economist Yao Jingyuan said that given the ongoing global economic slowdown, China's GDP growth for the first three quarters was still a "hard-earned achievement."

The consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, rose 4.6 percent in September over the same period last year.

Fixed assets investment, one of the three major propellers of the Chinese economy, totaled 11.6246 trillion yuan ($1.66 trillion) in the first three quarters, up 27.0 percent over the same period last year, according to the bureau.

The growth rate was 0.7 percentage points higher than the first half of this year, or 1.3 percentage points higher than the year-earlier level.

The State Council said on Sunday China's economy can weather the effects of the global financial turmoil, but growth will decline as the expansion of business profits and public revenues slows.

In a statement at the end of an executive meeting led by Premier Wen Jiabao, it said the turmoil and economic instability will have a "gradual" effect on the country.

It said China's economic growth will slow along with corporate profits and public revenues, and as capital markets continue to fluctuate.

"Unfavorable international factors and the serious natural disasters at home have not changed the basic growth situation of our country's economy," said the statement posted on a government Web site. "Our country's economic growth has the ability and vigor to resist risks."

China must "adopt flexible and cautious macroeconomic policies" to maintain stable growth, the statement said.

The council said that in the fourth quarter, China should focus on developing the rural economy, while striving to control inflation.

The government should also help local small and medium enterprises to grow by encouraging financial institutions to provide more loans to them, the statement said.