Beijing, September 25

China’s economic growth will be largely stable in the third quarter as the impact from a stock market plunge will be limited, the National Bureau of Statistics said today.

Bureau Spokesman Sheng Laiyun also defended the accuracy of Chinese data — amid widespread scepticism — saying that the seven per cent growth pace reported for the first half was ‘generally in line with’ changes in the country’s power consumption, rail freight and bank lending in that period.

Chinese officials have been trying to reassure global markets that Beijing is able to manage the world’s second-largest economy, after a shock devaluation of the yuan and a stock market plunge fanned fears of a sharp growth slowdown.

Sheng said China’s economic growth in the third quarter will not deviate much from the seven per cent annual pace Beijing reported for the second quarter.

“Judging from indicators in July and August, we feel that the economic trend is still stable, there may be some deviation, up or down, but it won’t be big,” he told a briefing.

China’s economic growth remains within a ‘reasonable range’ and the government will be able to achieve its

annual growth target of ‘around’ seven per cent this year, despite some downward pressures, Sheng said.

A run of downbeat data, including factory output and investment, showed the economy may have lost further momentum in the third quarter, raising the possibility that full-year growth rate may fall below seven per cent.

Sheng said his ‘personal view’ was that full-year growth between 6.5 per cent and 7.5 per cent would be considered as ‘around’ seven per cent.

The bureau is due to publish third-quarter GDP data on October 19. Sheng also said that China’s survey-based unemployment rate in August stood at around 5.1 per cent.

Global investors and policymakers are on edge over China after the US central bank a week ago held off from raising interest rates, saying it was unsure if international problems, and China’s slowdown in particular, will hurt the US recovery.

An interest rate hike in the US will have only limited impact on China, Sheng said.He said China’s economic slowdown was partly due to weaker global demand and expectations of the US rate rise have contributed to the global financial market volatility.

“The US should not exaggerate the impact of China’s growth slowdown on the global economy,” Sheng said.