By  on July 15, 2010

BEIJING  —  China’s economic growth slowed in the second quarter of this year, reflecting government efforts to curb inflation and cool off an overheated property market.

The National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday that China’s second-quarter gross domestic product grew 10.3 percent compared with 11.9 percent in the first quarter.

The slowdown falls in line with expectations that China’s blistering growth during the first quarter would contract later in the year as Beijing reins in stimulus spending, a report from RBC Capital Markets said.

“We expect growth will ease further in the second half of the year, with external factors likely to determine the severity of the slowdown,” the report said.

The country’s trade surplus narrowed on increased imports. The total value of imports and exports for the first six months of 2010 was up just over 43 percent from 2009. The value of exports rose 35.2 percent and imports gained 52.7 percent, the statistics bureau said.

Inflation was down in June, with China’s consumer price index showing a 2.9 percent rise compared with a 3.1 percent increase in May. Analysts had predicted June inflation figures to be around 3.3 percent.

Inflation has been rising for about a year, but it is too early to gauge whether the lower figures from June indicate a turning point, the RBC Capital Markets report said. Easing liquidity and higher wages “suggest we may still see inflation move higher in coming months,” the report said.

The producer price index rose 6.4 percent in June from a year earlier, compared with the 7.1 percent increase in May.

Other figures released by the statistics bureau in Beijing showed only moderate growth in industrial output, which rose 13.7 percent in June versus the same month last year. Production in May rose 16.5 percent over the same month in 2009.

The growth rate of fixed-asset investment climbed 25.5 percent in urban areas in January-June, down from 25.9 percent growth from January to May. The growth rate of investment in fixed assets in rural areas advanced 22.1 percent during the first half of this year, the bureau reported.

Beijing has imposed tighter restrictions on banks to slow down lending, which was a key component of government efforts to stimulate the economy in 2009. Stricter rules on property buying have also been implemented to stymie an overheated market.

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