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China economic growth slows to 6.7% in second quarter

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By Agence France-Presse

Chinese growth slowed slightly in the second quarter as the world’s number two economy faced a snowballing trade fight with the United States.

FILE PHOTO: A man walks at a refinery of Haike Group in Dongying, Shandong province, China January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Aizhu Chen/File Photo/ MANILA BULLETIN

(REUTERS/Aizhu Chen/File Photo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

The economy expanded by 6.7 percent in April-June, down from 6.8 percent in the first quarter and in line with a 6.7 percent rate tipped in an AFP survey of economists.

Despite the quarterly deceleration, growth was still higher than the annual target of around 6.5 percent set by the government.

China faced an “extremely complex environment both at home and abroad”, said Mao Shengyong, a spokesman for the national statistics bureau.

The impact of the deepening trade conflict with the United States was yet to fully kick in, according to analysts, who added that Beijing’s battle to rein in pollution and spiraling debt levels had crimped growth.

Both Washington and Beijing slapped tariffs on $34 billion of each others’ goods earlier this month, with the US threatening to impose further tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese goods.

Beijing has vowed to retaliate but has not yet said what measures it will take.

China’s government is facing a multi-front battle to defend its economy, fighting to reduce the debt mountain while the yuan and local stock markets tumble in the face of the US trade conflict.

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