BEIJING(Bloomberg) — China’s economy expanded at the weakest pace since 2009 last quarter, with output, investment and retail data pointing to a deepening slowdown.
Gross domestic product rose 7 percent in the three months through March from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said Wednesday, matching the median estimate of economists and the leadership’s full-year expansion target. Data for the month of March showed industrial production was weaker than all 40 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
While China’s leaders have signaled tolerance for a slower expansion as they seek to rein in debt risks, corruption and pollution, today’s reports speak to the case for policy makers to deploy greater stimulus. Premier Li Keqiang’s government has already relaxed home-purchasing rules, cut interest rates twice and reduced the reserves banks must set aside in recent months.
“Economic momentum down-shifted more significantly in March,” said Andrew Polk, a Beijing-based economist at…
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