China’s economy expanded quicker than economists forecast in the third quarter as the services sector propped up the world’s second-largest economy, suggesting monetary and fiscal stimulus is keeping Premier Li Keqiang’s 2015 expansion target within reach.
Gross domestic product rose 6.9 percent in the three months through September from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday, beating economists’ estimates for 6.8 percent. Still, that was the slowest quarterly expansion since the first three months of 2009, based off previously announced data.
The economic resilience comes as a stronger services sector and robust consumption help offset weakness in manufacturing and exports. The government has cut interest rates five times since November and boosted infrastructure spending in recent months to keep growth from sliding too far below this year’s target for about 7 percent.
“The services sector is growing much faster than the manufacturing sector,” said Zhu Haibin, chief China economist at JPMorgan in Hong Kong. “It’s what we call the two speed economy, the manufacturing slowdown is the bigger problem for the Chinese economy in the near term.”
Industrial output in September rose 5.7 percent from a year earlier, compared with economists’ median estimate of 6 percent. Retail sales increased 10.9 percent, versus a 10.8 percent gain forecast for the month.