Official GDP data released Monday confirmed that China’s economy is faltering, testing the resolve of Beijing’s new taskmasters who say they want quality over quantity. The economy grew by an annualised 7.5% in the second quarter of 2013, down from 7.7% in the first quarter and broadly in line with expectations. The official target for 2013 has been set at 7.5%, which would be the slowest rate since 1990 and breaks with the long-held fixation on 8% as the minimum rate of growth required to sustain social stability. Most investment banks have downgraded their estimates for full-year growth to 7.5% or less, based on the assumption that any government stimulus will be modest compared to the no-holds-barred spending sprees of the past. Shares on Shanghai’s exchange rose 0.5% ahead of the news.
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