China’s economy in the third quarter grew at its slowest pace in five years. Government data shows that gross domestic product expanded by 7.3% in the third quarter versus the same period last year.
The results make it increasingly likely that China will miss its 7.5% annual growth target for the first time since 1998. Economists surveyed expect full-year GDP to come in at 7.3%, with growth forecast to dip further to 7% in 2015.
In a research note, Barclays economist Jian Chang says that the figures "remain consistent with our view that relatively weaker data in the third quarter reflects the government's shift towards tolerating lower growth." Chang expects the government to continue rolling out targeted efforts and investment projects to support growth.
For the past three decades, China averaged economic expansion of around 10% a year, making it among the biggest economies and boosting household wealth. However, in the last two years, the pace of economic expansion languished -- the country recorded GDP growth of 7.7% in the last two years, versus 9.3% in 2011 and 10.5% in 2010.