Chinese economy showing strain from various crises
The Straits Times|October 16, 2021
Growth hit by factors such as property slump, energy crunch and weak consumer sentiment

BEIJING China’s economy is being hit from all sides – a property slump, energy crisis, weak consumer sentiment and soaring raw material costs – and government data out next Monday will show just how bad things are looking.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg predict a slowdown in gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 5 per cent in the third quarter from 7.9 per cent in the previous three months, and a weakening in monthly industrial production and investment figures last month. Retail sales may show a pick-up after a major virus outbreak was contained.

The outlook for the world’s second-largest economy has darkened in recent months following a worsening in the property market and a shock electricity shortage that forced factories to curb output or shut down completely.

Economists have been steadily downgrading their growth forecasts for the year – with some like Nomura Holdings predicting it could drop to as low as 7.7 per cent – with ripple effects for the rest of the world.

“It’s not an optimistic picture for the third quarter’s growth, especially as the low-base effect is fading,” said China economist Liu Peiqian at NatWest Markets in Singapore, adding: “In the third quarter, the authorities prioritised longer-term reform goals and were less focused on the short-term growth target.”

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