SHANGHAI — In yet another sign the world’s second-largest economy is weakening, official data released on Monday revealed China’s gross domestic product growth slowed to 7.5 percent in the second quarter, with slower expansion largely due to falling overseas demand for exports.
That comes in 0.2 percentage points lower than the 7.7 percent economic expansion in the first quarter. Economic growth for the first half was 7.6 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said, adding that the “overall national economy realized steady development and grew at a moderate pace.”
Other data has also indicated slowing economic expansion. Over the past couple of months, China’s PMI, or purchasing managers’ index, which measures factory output, has fallen below 50, according to HSBC estimates. Readings below 50 indicate economic contraction. For May and June, official data showed the country’s PMI coming in at just over the 50 mark.
There were some positive signs in the latest round of data. Retail sales rose by 13.3 percent from a year earlier. In May, retail sales grew 12.9 percent.
Beijing has set a growth target of 7.5 percent for the economy this year.
China’s new leadership, which came to power in March, has been adamant about initiating structural reforms that would lead to more stable and sustainable growth, reducing the economy’s reliance on exports, infrastructure development and cheap credit. Amidst the lackluster data, Beijing has made no overtures indicating it would use stimulus as a measure to rev up the economy as was done during the global financial crisis.
Last month, in an effort to curb aggressive lending from state-owned banks, which has resulted in trillions of dollars in local government debt, interest rates for interbank lending skyrocketed, causing a prolonged cash crunch.