China economy grows at slowest pace in 5 years

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BEIJING (AP) — China's economic growth waned to 7.3 percent last quarter, the lowest rate since early 2009, resuming a slowdown that had been eased by mini-stimulus measures earlier in the year.

The 7.3 percent year-on-year growth reported Tuesday by China's National Bureau of Statistics was down from 7.5 percent in the second quarter, which had been bolstered by stimulus spending on infrastructure. Growth in the first quarter was 7.4 percent.

Communist leaders are trying to steer China toward growth based on domestic consumption instead of trade and investment, but the slowdown raises fears of politically dangerous job losses. The latest figures put China on course for annual growth somewhat lower than the rate of 7.5 percent targeted by Chinese leaders.

Chinese growth reached 14 percent in 2007, but took a hit from the global recession of 2008-2009 and has declined steadily since 2012.

The International Monetary Fund said in July that China should lower its growth targets to no more than 7 percent for next year, but some analysts expect an even deeper decline, to as low as 6.8 percent.

That would be stronger than the United States, Japan or Europe, but it would be China's weakest annual growth in two decades.