China posted its weakest quarterly economic growth since the global financial crisis on Monday, raising pressure on policymakers to cut interest rates further and roll out other support measures to avert a sharper slowdown.
Chinese leaders have been trying to reassure jittery global markets for months that the economy is under control after a shock devaluation of the yuan CNY=CFXS and a summer stock market plunge fanned fears of a hard landing.
The world’s second-largest economy grew 6.9 percent in the July-September quarter from a year ago, slightly better than analysts’ estimate of 6.8 percent, but down from 7 percent in the second quarter.
That is the weakest reading since the first quarter of 2009, when growth tumbled to 6.2 percent. However, analysts still mostly believe China’s slowdown will be gradual rather than more calamitous.
“Continued downward pressures from real estate and exports caused gross domestic product (GDP) growth to drop to 6.9 percent,” said Louis Kuijs from Oxford Economics in Hong Kong.
“We think overall growth will soften more into 2016,” he said. “In such a setting we expect more incremental monetary and fiscal measures.”
Other September figures also released on Monday pointed to stubborn weakness in the Chinese economy.
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