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Last Updated: Friday, 22 October, 2004, 06:49 GMT 07:49 UK
China's economic boom slows down
Chinese workers welding
Even though growth is slowing, it is still boom-time in China
China's economic growth has slowed for a third straight quarter as efforts by the government to rein in booming expansion continue to take hold.

Third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) was 9.1%, down from 9.6% in the second and 9.8% in the first.

Curbs on investment spending and bank lending were introduced amid signs that the world's seventh largest economy was in danger of overheating.

The measures should alleviate the need for interest rate rises, analysts said.

Hit the brakes

Even so, it probably is too early to lift restrictions, officals said.

"We should further enhance and expand the achievements of macro-control to guard against a rebound of those problems," said Zheng Jingping, a spokesman for the National Statistical Bureau.

How open trade has transformed China's economy since the 1980s

China has been devouring commodities such as oil with a seemingly unquenchable thirst that has helped push the price of crude to record levels.

Even though economists agree that the country's expansion needs to slow to ensure that it is sustainable, there are concerns that any dip in demand may have negative effects on corporate profits and growth worldwide.

Analysts said that China will be heartened by Friday's data, which showed urban fixed-asset investment, a key indicator, slowing.

It rose by 28% in the third quarter, less than the 30% increase seen in the previous six months.

Separate figures showed that consumer price growth slowed by more than expected in September. The annual rate of inflation was 5.2% last month, compared with a forecast of 5.3%.

"The modest slowdown in fixed-asset investment and the pronounced slowdown in inflation are what the authorities want to see," said Tim Condon of ING in Singapore.

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