Growth in China has slowed for a seventh consecutive quarter, the economy growing by just 7.4% from July to September.
This is the slowest since the start of the global economic crisis in 2009. However inflation remains low at 1.9%, and retail sales, factory output and exports are slightly up.
For most of the last 30 years China has posted double-digit growth every year. 7.4% would be boomtime in the West, but Chinese growth is on the slide, and has been all year. 2012’s growth target is 7.5%.
“The problem is that the Chinese economy is geared, and has been geared for the past 30 years, to channel resources away from the household sector to boost investment and production. So you have to reverse that and channel resources back to the household sector,” says China analyst Patrick Chonavec.
However analysts say the latest figures may mean the worst of the downturn is over, and that while it is probably too soon to talk about unbridled optimism, stabilisation appears to be arriving for the hard-pressed Chinese economy.