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China

China's economy cools further

China’s economic growth has slowed for the second consecutive quarter, causing worries about the world’s second-largest economy. The rulers in Beijing say the economy is stable but faces grim challenges.

China's gross domestic product expanded by 7.5 percent in the second quarter of 2013, down from the 7.7 percent annual GDP growth recorded in the first three months of the year, official data released Monday showed.

The performance of China's economy was generally stable and within expectations, said Sheng Laiyuan, a spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics, which presented the latest GDP figure.

Concerns over slowing growth

Laiyuan blamed the latest slowdown on China's declining potential productivity, which he said meant that the same investment could no longer generate the same returns as in the past.

He also mentioned the economic climate, which had remained complicated and severe, referring apparently to the eurozone crisis and sluggish global demand.

In 2012, growth in China's output had already slumped to 7.8 percent, which was the worst performance by the world's second-biggest economy in 13 years.

In 2013, GDP growth was likely to fall further, to between 6.5 percent and 7 percent, the country's finance minister, Lou Jiwei, said last week. The figures would be well below the government's growth target for this year of 7.5 percent, which Lou said would be no problem for China.

Growth is falling as the Communist rulers aim to rebalance the economy, placing less emphasis on short-term export and investment-driven growth and more on consumer spending.

Some economists fear Beijing's attempt at a soft landing for the economy might fail. They urge the government to provide more fiscal stimulus to bolster falling growth.

uhe/mkg (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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