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China’s economic dominoes look worryingly wobbly

The timing of China’s gross domestic product (GDP) miss could scarcely be worse as President Xi Jinping juggles a fast-growing number of economic challenges.

News that GDP grew just 4.9% in the third quarter from a year ago comes as China Evergrande Group faces fresh debt payment tests and investors scrutinize other property developers. It also comes as energy price surges bear down on Asia’s biggest economy and new waves of Covid-19 infections imperil key export markets.

So far, analysts and economists are taking it in their stride.

“The Chinese economy grew slower, mainly because of policy challenges and a high base effect from last year’s third quarter,” says Iris Pang at ING Bank. “We expect that these two factors continue to be in play for the fourth quarter, which means slow growth of the Chinese economy will continue.”