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Continued: China's economic growth slows further as trade weakens, government clamps down on credit boom

  • Article by: JOE MCDONALD , AP Business Writer
  • Last update: July 15, 2013 - 4:20 AM

Chinese leaders have promised to launch reforms aimed at making the economy more productive and helping entrepreneurs. But no major changes are expected until after a Communist Party meeting in the autumn.

Growth also has been dented by a crackdown on overly fast expansion in bank lending. Government efforts to tighten lending controls caused a temporary shortage of credit in Chinese financial markets last month.

Further efforts to rein in lending, especially unregulated private lending, could hurt entrepreneurs who generate most of the country's new jobs and wealth.

The ruling party's 7.5 percent growth target for the year is stronger than forecasts for the United States, Europe and Japan, but China's weakest performance since 1991. Finance Minister Lou Jiwei appeared to try to lower expectations last week when he told reporters in Washington that growth as low as 6.5 percent would be tolerable.

Earlier this month, Beijing promised changes in its government-run banking industry, including possible creation of privately owned lenders, to increase the supply of credit to entrepreneurs and more productive companies. It gave no timetable.

"The payoff from such financial consolidation efforts will most likely show up in the medium and long-term, even if implemented successfully," said Ren of IHS Global Insight. "In the near term, the downside risk for growth has become much more elevated now than a few months ago."

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