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China's economic growth expected to have slowed

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Economic growth in China during the third quarter of the year is expected to have slowed as government measures to control inflation curb growth.

Data released on Tuesday is expected to show that, for the three months to September, the economy grew by 9.3% compared with a year earlier.

Although still a high rate of growth, it would be a drop from the 9.5% rate seen in the previous three months.

Analysts said weakness in demand from Europe could hit growth further.

"We are seeing a broad slowdown through the year," said Alistair Thornton, China Analyst at IHS Global Insight.

Chinese authorities have been targeting high inflation by tightening credit markets.

Interest rates have been raised five times in the past year. Bank reserve requirements have also been increased.

Inflation has now started to ease after peaking at 6.5% in July, a three-year high. But growth has also been curbed as a result.

“Start Quote

The trajectory of the Chinese economy in the next 18 months will be wholly reliant on the trajectory of European growth”

End Quote Alistair Thornton IHS Global Insight

"The tightening measures they have put in place over the last year have had an impact, and growth has slowed as a consequence," said Mr Thornton.

Weaker exports

Analysts said it was now external factors that are the biggest threat to the Chinese economy, as Europe and the US struggle with debt crises.

"We think a sharp deceleration in external demand is on the way, as the eurozone sovereign debt crisis escalates and as reflected in weaker US leading indicators," said Wang Tao from UBS.

Statistics showed that the annual rate of export growth weakened to 17.1% in September, down from 24.5% the previous month.

The European Union is the world's biggest purchaser of Chinese goods, with the market worth about $380bn (£241bn) in 2010.

"The trajectory of the Chinese economy in the next 18 months will be wholly reliant on the trajectory of European growth," said Mr Thornton from IHS.

"If things don't quite go to plan in Europe, then we could be faced with a similar situation to 2008-2009."

'Grand rebalancing'

After the global financial crisis in 2008-2009, Beijing unleashed a massive economic stimulus package to try to lessen the strain on exporters.

Large amounts of investment, particularly in property, was jump-started by easy access to credit made available by the state-owned banks.

But analysts say it will be a different scenario if there is another downturn.

"The complicating factor is that a lot of the tools China used to combat the last crisis of growth downturn are unavailable to China today," said Mr Thornton.

"And it will be even more difficult to engineer this grand rebalancing of shifting the economy away from investment and export and towards domestic consumption."

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