China’s GDP growth slows to 7.5 per cent, weakest in 15 years
Beijing: China's GDP growth slowed to 7.5 per cent in the second quarter amid concerns that the world's second largest economy was headed for its weakest growth in 15 years with grim prospects of missing the official target for the first time in recent years.
The data released by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that growth in the first half of the year stood at 7.6 per cent, which is in line with market expectations and was above the government's full-year target of 7.5 per cent.
"China's economy has maintained a steady growth," Sheng Laiyun, a spokesman for the NBS, said at a press conference.
According to the NBS, the GDP totalled 24.8 trillion yuan (USD 4 trillion) in the first six months.
"Major economic indicators are still within reasonable ranges as expected, but the economic environment remains complex," Sheng said, adding that the market should play a better role to bring out the economy's intrinsic vigour.
The latest GDP figures headed a string of other data showing a continuous slowdown in the world's second-largest economy after China's full-year annual growth eased to 7.8 percent last year, its weakest since 1999.
Observers say that with no signs of halting the slowdown, China faced the risk of missing the government's target of 7.5 per cent this year which will be the first since the Asian financial crisis 15 years ago.
Speculation is rife even in the official media that the government may be thinking of a bailout package but it is to be seen whether it would come at all and what would be the size of it.
Chinese government has already announced about USD 150 billion worth of stimulus package last year to be spent on various infrastructure projects for reviving the economy.
This was in addition to USD 570 billion bailout package spend to tide over the world economic crisis in 2008.
The economic slow down in the first year of the leadership change is putting pressure on the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) headed by President Xi Jinping who took over in March.
As the growth slowed mainly due to fall of exports caused by global economic decline, concerns are mounting about rise of unemployment which in turn could have a grave implications for the 64 year long rule of the CPC.