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GDP data released Monday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics confirmed that the country’s economic recovery from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is losing steam. The Chinese economy grew by just 4.9 percent in the third quarter of 2021, compared with the same quarter last year. Although some slowdown was expected, the slump was steeper than the bearish predictions by analysts, who have subsequently downgraded their overall forecasts in recent weeks. The third quarter figure was also a significant drop from the previous quarter’s 7.9 percent growth rate, to say nothing of the blistering 18.3 percent in the first quarter of this year.
“The Chinese economy has maintained the recovery momentum in the first three quarters with progress in structural adjustment and high-quality development,” Fu Linghui, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Statistics, said at a press conference on Monday, putting a positive spin on the data. “China is capable of achieving its social and economic development goals for the whole year,” he stressed, adding that the country is still on track to meet its annual growth target of 6 percent.