By Fran Wang, AFP
BEIJING — China’s economic growth jumped to 7.8 percent in the third quarter, analysts polled by AFP forecast ahead of the release of the figures Friday, the first acceleration in the world’s second-largest economy for almost a year. The median forecast in a survey of 11 economists saw growth ahead of both the 7.5 percent logged in the April-June period and 7.7 percent in the first three months of the year. “Both the confidence and demand within the country have improved,” said Sun Junwei, a Beijing-based economist with HSBC. “Therefore, we feel the economy is on track to have a mild recovery.”
The jump was mainly a result of government stimulus since late June that featured increased rail and urban fixed-asset investment, tax cuts and loose monetary policy, economists said. The measures were taken after the growth in gross domestic product (GDP) slowed for two straight quarters and following a 7.7-percent expansion for all of 2012 — the worst performance since 1999. “The economy may have stabilized and rebounded by a small margin thanks to the so-called mini-stimulus since June,” said Li Ruoyu, a Beijing-based economist with the State Information Centre, a government think tank. But many of those polled said growth may now have peaked and is likely to ease in the coming months, as the comparable figures in the second half of 2012 were relatively high.