By
with contributions from Nyima Pratten
 on October 18, 2016
A Carrefour hypermarket in Changzhou, China.

SHANGHAI — China’s gross domestic product grew 6.7 percent in the third quarter of the year, registering the same growth the economy saw in the first and second quarters of the year.

The 6.7 percent growth, released Wednesday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics [NBS], came in line with expectations.

“The national economy is generally stable, steadily progress, steadily developing and continuing the trend of upgrading,” the NBS wrote in a statement. “But we should also see China’s economy is still in a crucial stage of transformation and upgrading…the basis for sustained economic development is not solid.”

China’s government is aiming for growth of between 6.5 percent and 7 percent this year. In 2015, the economy expanded 6.9 percent, its slowest rate in 25 years.

Last week, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang forecasted a strong third-quarter economic performance in a speech from Macau broadcast on state television.

“China‘s economy in the third quarter not only extended growth momentum in the first half but showed many positive changes,” Li said.

For the first three-quarters total retail sales growth nominally increased 10.7 percent (taking price factors into account the actual growth was 9.6 percent), contributing to this double-digit growth is the continued explosion in online sales, which grew 26.1 percent over the first three-quarters.

Breaking down the year-on-year rates for specific sectors over the first nine months of 2016: the clothing, shoes and textiles category grew by 7.2 percent; cosmetics were up 8.4 percent and gold and silver jewelry sales decreased by 1.3 percent.

Total imports and exports were down 1.9 percent, an increased fall from the 1.7 percent seen in the first half of the year. Consumer prices have risen by 2 percent over the first three-quarters, compared with the same period last year, with apparel prices rising 1.5 percent.

China has been working to transform its economy away from manufacturing to focus more on service sectors, which these third quarter results show accounting for 52.8 percent of GDP over the first nine months of the year.

Meanwhile, China’s retail sales grew 10.7 percent year-on-year for September, according to NBS.

September retail sales of clothing, shoes and textiles rose 6.7 percent. That of cosmetics grew 7.7 percent and that of gold and silver jewelry advanced 5 percent. Retail sales in China are expected to be particularly robust next month due to Singles’ Day promotional events.

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