China's economic growth slows amid trade battle with US

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The head of China's central bank joined numerous chief financial regulators to make pledges of support in an unusually coordinated display of positive rhetoric.

Exports still drive a significant chunk of China's economy and Washington's tariffs targeting cars, machinery, electronics, consumer appliances and others have led many firms to shift production and hold off on further China investment.

And China's stock market has fallen by more than a quarter since a peak in January.

Much of that burst, however, came from manufacturers racing to fill holiday orders and ship out goods before the trade conflict gets worse.

Early in the trading day, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .miapj0000pus was 0.4 percent weaker following losses on Wall Street overnight. Third-quarter services growth edged up from 7.8 percent in the second quarter to 7.9 percent.

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The pace was in line with market expectations and higher than the government's annual growth target of around 6.5 percent.

Latest figures showed the economy in China grew less than anticipated, with a 6.5 percent increase year-on-year in the third quarter on 2018.

"Looking ahead, economic outlook is not optimistic with exports facing further headwinds as USA tariffs kick in and demand from emerging countries ebbs", said Nie Wen, an analyst at Hwabao Trust in Shanghai. Meanwhile, retail sales performed well, increasing 9.2% in September, up 0.2% on forecasted levels.

In the latest trade war volley, the U.S.is requesting that a World Trade Organization dispute resolution panel look into tariffs imposed by China, the European Union, Canada and Mexico in retaliation to USA tariffs on steel and aluminium. The result of all this has been a domestic equities rout which has put pressure on China's already softening economy and weakening currency.

"While the United States markets have been somewhat insulated from China equity market meltdowns this year, that strong historical correlation that "when China sneezes the rest of the world catches the flu" is starting to take hold", said head of Asia-Pacific trade at OANDA Stephen Innes. While this set of data doesn't necessarily show that the trade war has hit China just yet, there will nearly certainly be more pain to come.

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Vice Premier Liu He, who has overall control of economy policy, sought to ease worries about a bruising stock downturn and fresh economic data showing slowing economic growth.

Investment in fixed assets, which includes spending on property construction and infrastructure, rose 5.4 percent in the nine months of this year, 0.6 percentage point lower than the first six months. Chinese companies' overseas shipments rose an average of 11.7% from a year earlier, a slight improvement from an average of 11.5% monthly growth in the quarter before.

Faced with rising headwinds to the economy, policymakers are shifting their priorities to reducing risks to growth by gradually easing monetary and fiscal policy.

China has reported growth figures over the past two years that painted a picture of an economy that is gamely chugging along, despite the country's lingering problems and widespread doubts over the reliability of official numbers.

Last week the People's Bank of China (PBOC) announced the fourth reserve requirement ratio (RRR) cut this year, stepping up moves to lower financing costs.

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