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Dow Jones Newswires: China’s economy improved significantly in Q3, official says

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China’s economy “significantly improved” in the third quarter, a senior official with the state planner said on Monday, a day ahead of the official release of quarterly growth numbers.

The economy’s performance in March, April and July was weighed down by “factors beyond expectations”, including the external environment, Covid-19 outbreaks and extreme weather, said Zhao Chenxin, a deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission.

But overall economic activity–ranging from factory production and investment to consumption–continued to rise, Zhao said at a sideline briefing of the 20th National Congress of China’s Communist Party.

“From a global perspective, China’s economic performance is still outstanding,” he said, adding that the country’s consumer inflation was mild compared with that of Western economies.

Zhao’s remarks come one day before of the release of third-quarter growth data. The economy is tipped to have grown 3.5% from a year earlier in the quarter, up from the 0.4% expansion recorded in the second quarter, according to a poll of 15 economists by The Wall Street Journal.

But the rebound is unlikely to help China meet the 5.5% growth target set earlier this year by the government. Given that gross domestic product only grew 0.4% in the second quarter, growth in the first half comes to just 2.5%.

Domestic consumption, as measured by retail sales, is expected to have slowed further to 2.7% in September from a 5.4% increase in August, according to the WSJ poll.

Industrial production likely improved following a power crunch to grow 5.0% on year in September, up from 4.2% in August. Fixed-asset investment is tipped to have risen 6.0% in January-September from a year ago, up from the 5.8% pace recorded in the first eight months of the year.

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