China economic growth slows in second quarter

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A worker looks on as a crane lifts steel pipes for export at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China July 15, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (AFP) – China said yesterday its economic growth slowed slightly in the second quarter as a trade war with the United States gained pace, while it warned of the global damage that could be caused if the row persists.

The world’s second-biggest economy expanded 6.7 percent in April-June, down from 6.8 percent in the first quarter and in line with a forecasts in an AFP survey of economists.

The data was released just as European Council President Donald Tusk said at an EU summit with China in Beijing that trade tensions could spiral into a “hot conflict”, calling on the US, China and Russia to find a resolution.

Despite the quarterly deceleration, growth was still higher than the annual target of around 6.5 percent set by the government, but China nevertheless faces an “extremely complex environment both at home and abroad”, said Mao Shengyong, a spokesman for the national statistics bureau.

Beijing faces a multi-front battle to defend its economy, fighting to cut its debt mountain while the yuan currency and Chinese stock markets tumble.

“World trade protectionism continues to heat up, posing a major challenge to the world economic recovery and adding challenges and uncertainties for us,” Mr Mao said.

“From our domestic perspective, economic development has still been unbalanced and unstable, and is still in the process of structural adjustment and transformation.”

The impact of the deepening trade conflict with the United States was yet to fully kick in, Mr Mao said, noting that Beijing would continue to assess the situation in the second half of the year.

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