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Li Says China Growth Exceeded 7.5% in First Nine Months

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the nation’s economic growth exceeded 7.5 percent in the first nine months of the year, a sign the government will next week report success in arresting a two-quarter slowdown.

Gross domestic product “maintained a fairly high growth rate of over 7.5 percent” in the first three quarters, Li said today in a speech at the East Asia Summit in Brunei. He said earlier today at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit that the economy has “shown stronger momentum of steady growth” in recent months, with indicators that reflect market expectations, such as the Purchasing Managers’ Index, improving.

China previously reported expansion of 7.6 percent in the first half and Li’s government introduced measures including faster railway spending and tax cuts to defend a 7.5 percent goal for the full year. The National Bureau of Statistics reports third-quarter growth on Oct. 18, with the median estimate of 33 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News for a 7.8 percent pace, up from the second quarter’s 7.5 percent.

“We have confidence in fulfilling the targets set out for economic and social development” in 2013, Li said at the Asean event. Asean distributed English translations of the remarks.

Xu Gao, chief economist at Everbright Securities Co. in Beijing, said the recovery “is obvious in the third quarter, but whether the momentum can be sustained is open to question.”

The rebound may falter in the October-December period on the lack of additional support policies and owing to a high basis for comparison with last year, said Xu, who previously worked for the World Bank. He estimates 7.7 percent expansion in the July-September period and 7.3 percent in the fourth quarter.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index of stocks fell 0.9 percent today.

Li told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday that China is paying “great attention” to the U.S. debt-ceiling issue, the official Xinhua News Agency reported earlier today, adding his voice to the government’s concern that the world’s biggest economy risks defaulting on its debt due to a political impasse over a borrowing limit.

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