China’s Economy Expanded 4.9% In Q3, Missing Expectations

China’s third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a lower than expected 4.9% as industrial activity weakened in September.

The 4.9% third quarter growth missed expectations for a 5.2% expansion, according to analysts polled by Reuters News Agency. Industrial production in China rose by 3.1% in September, below the 4.5% that had been expected.

Many Chinese factories had to stop production in late September as a surge in the price of coal and a shortage of electricity caused local authorities to abruptly cut off power. The central government has since emphasized that it will boost coal supply and ensure the availability of electricity.

Monday’s data release also showed businesses were less keen to put money into future projects. Fixed asset investment for the first three quarters of the year came in weaker than expected, up 7.3% from a year ago compared to the expected 7.9% growth.

China’s economy could slow down further in the fourth quarter. The struggles of giant real estate developer Evergrande came to the forefront in August, when the company warned of default and subsequently missed payments to investors in its offshore U.S. dollar-denominated debt.

China’s central bank said Friday that Evergrande is a unique case and that most developers had stable operations.

The latest data showed that Chinese consumer spending held up in the third quarter despite pockets of coronavirus-related restrictions, and a fourth-straight monthly decline in automotive sales.

Retail sales beat expectations, rising 4.4% in September from a year ago. Analysts had predicted 3.3% growth. China’s urban unemployment rate in September was 4.9%. However, unemployment for people aged 16 to 24 remained far higher, at 14.6%.