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Five questions answered on China's slowing economy

Growth slows for a seventh quarter.

The world’s second biggest economy has slowed for a seventh quarter. We answer five questions on the Asian juggernaut's slowing fiscal growth.

By how much has China's growth slowed?

According to Chinese government officials the annual rate of growth in the last quarter was 7.4 per cent, down from 7.6 per cent in the previous three months. This is down from 8.1 per cent in the first quarter and its lowest level since the beginning of 2009.

Why has it slowed?

China’s previous rapid growth was largely due to its export and manufacturing sector and a credit fuelled investment boom. However, slow rebound in the USA and the Eurozone crisis has hurt demand for Chinese exports.

How does this affect the global economy?

China has been the single biggest contributor to global growth in recent years. Therefore, slowing growth in China generally dampens hopes that China will prop up the global economic outlook. It was also hit hard exporters from Europe and some other Asian countries and slow the momentum of the global economy.

What are the experts saying?

That the outlook isn’t all bad.

"The last month of the quarter brought acceleration of industrial output, retail sales and fixed asset investment in year-on-year terms, highlighting the fact that improvement of momentum of the economy was particularly strong in September," Dariusz Kowalczyk, senior economist as Credit Agricole-CIB, told the BBC.

While, Zhang Zhiwei, chief China economist at Nomura in Hong Kong, added:

"The September data indicates economic momentum has picked up strongly compared with July and August."

What's the future outlook?

Stable. There are signs that although growth has slowed considerably this year, China’s economy is leveling out. Retail sales were 14.2 per cent higher than a year earlier, while other figures released showed a 9.9 per cent year-on-year growth in exports during September, up from 2.7 per cent growth recorded in the previous month.

NBS spokesman Sheng Laiyun told reporters at a briefing: "Judging from figures in the third quarter and particularly in September, the signs that the national economy is stabilising are clearer.

"The main indicators showed that although growth still slowed, the pace of the decline slowed," he said.


Heidi Vella is a features writer for

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Geoffrey Howe dies, aged 88

Howe was Margaret Thatcher's longest serving Cabinet minister – and the man credited with precipitating her downfall.

The former Conservative chancellor Lord Howe, a key figure in the Thatcher government, has died of a suspected heart attack, his family has said. He was 88.

Geoffrey Howe was the longest-serving member of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, playing a key role in both her government and her downfall. Born in Port Talbot in 1926, he began his career as a lawyer, and was first elected to parliament in 1964, but lost his seat just 18 months later.

Returning as MP for Reigate in the Conservative election victory of 1970, he served in the government of Edward Heath, first as Solicitor General for England & Wales, then as a Minister of State for Trade. When Margaret Thatcher became opposition leader in 1975, she named Howe as her shadow chancellor.

He retained this brief when the party returned to government in 1979. In the controversial budget of 1981, he outlined a radical monetarist programme, abandoning then-mainstream economic thinking by attempting to rapidly tackle the deficit at a time of recession and unemployment. Following the 1983 election, he was appointed as foreign secretary, in which post he negotiated the return of Hong Kong to China.

In 1989, Thatcher demoted Howe to the position of leader of the house and deputy prime minister. And on 1 November 1990, following disagreements over Britain's relationship with Europe, he resigned from the Cabinet altogether. 

Twelve days later, in a powerful speech explaining his resignation, he attacked the prime minister's attitude to Brussels, and called on his former colleagues to "consider their own response to the tragic conflict of loyalties with which I have myself wrestled for perhaps too long".

Labour Chancellor Denis Healey once described an attack from Howe as "like being savaged by a dead sheep" - but his resignation speech is widely credited for triggering the process that led to Thatcher's downfall. Nine days later, her premiership was over.

Howe retired from the Commons in 1992, and was made a life peer as Baron Howe of Aberavon. He later said that his resignation speech "was not intended as a challenge, it was intended as a way of summarising the importance of Europe". 

Nonetheless, he added: "I am sure that, without [Thatcher's] resignation, we would not have won the 1992 election... If there had been a Labour government from 1992 onwards, New Labour would never have been born."

Jonn Elledge is the editor of the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @JonnElledge.