(Bloomberg)—China’s economic growth beat analysts’ estimates in the third quarter, bolstering the government’s case for avoiding broader stimulus measures.

Gross domestic product rose 7.3 percent in the July- September period from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said Tuesday in Beijing. While that exceeded the 7.2 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of analysts, it was also the slowest expansion since the first quarter of 2009.

China’s leaders have relaxed home-purchase controls and the central bank has pumped liquidity to lenders as they seek to limit a property-induced slowdown. The government has signaled it will tolerate a weaker expansion pace, leaving China headed for the slowest full-year growth since 1990, based on forecasts by analysts Bloomberg surveyed.

“The problems in the economy remained,” said Tao Dong, chief regional economist for Asia excluding Japan at Credit Suisse Group AG in Hong Kong. “This cannot be addressed by launching more fiscal stimuli or monetary easing. China needs reforms.”

Industrial production rose 8 percent in September from a year earlier, compared with the 7.5 percent median estimate of analysts and August’s 6.9 percent, which was the slowest in more than five years. Retail sales increased 11.6 percent from a year earlier, compared with the 11.7 percent seen by economists and August’s 11.9 percent.

Stocks were little changed in China and advanced in Hong Kong, while the Australian dollar strengthened and the yuan advanced for a second day.

Fixed-asset investment excluding rural households increased 16.1 percent in the first nine months from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said. That compared with the median estimate of analysts for 16.3 percent growth and the 16.5 percent pace in the January-August period.

The world’s second-largest economy grew a seasonally- adjusted 1.9 percent last quarter from the previous period, the statistics bureau said Tuesday, compared with the 1.8 percent median estimate of analysts and the previously reported 2 percent in the second quarter.

The People’s Bank of China has avoided across-the-board cuts to interest rates or banks’ reserve requirements to boost growth. Restrained consumer inflation and a prolonged decline in factory prices give it room to loosen policy settings.

The central bank cut the interest rate it pays lenders for 14-day repurchase agreements for the second time in a month on Oct. 14. It has also injected liquidity into some banks.

The International Monetary Fund on Oct. 7 cut its outlook for global growth in 2015 to 3.8 percent from a July forecast of 4 percent. The U.S. will expand 3.1 percent next year, compared with 1.3 percent for the euro area and 0.8 percent for Japan. China is projected to grow 7.1 percent, its slowest since 1990, according to IMF data.

Chinese leaders will set an economic growth target of about 7 percent for 2015, according to 13 of 22 analysts polled by Bloomberg.

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