October 19, 2018 / 2:03 AM / a month ago

China third quarter GDP growth slows to 6.5 percent year-on-year, missing forecast

FILE PHOTO: A worker puts finishing touches to an iPal social robot, designed by AvatarMind, at an assembly plant in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China July 4, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s economy grew at a slower than expected pace of 6.5 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, marking the weakest rate since the global financial crisis, official data showed on Friday.

The data points to a modest cooling in the world’s second-largest economy, as the government’s multi-year efforts to tackle debt risks begin to weigh on growth and as a trade war with the United States threatens exports.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected gross domestic product (GDP) to expand 6.6 percent in the July-September quarter, slowing only marginally from 6.7 percent growth in the previous quarter.

The GDP reading was the weakest year-on-year quarterly growth since the first quarter of 2009 during the global financial crisis.

Recent economic data have pointed to weakening domestic demand with softness across factory activity to infrastructure investment and consumer spending, as a years-long crackdown on riskier lending and debt has pushed up companies’ borrowing costs.

On a quarterly basis, GDP in the third quarter grew 1.6 percent, compared with growth of 1.8 percent in April-June, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

Analysts had expected growth of 1.6 percent on a quarterly basis.

Reporting by Kevin Yao and Cheng Fang; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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