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China's economic growth picked up to 7.8 percent in the July-September quarter on the year, from 7.5 percent expansion in the previous three months, recording the fastest pace of growth this year, according to government data released Friday.
The stronger growth in the world's second-largest economy was mainly driven by government stimulus measures focusing on infrastructure and housing.
China's gross domestic product increased 7.7 percent in the first nine months and "enjoyed momentum of steady growth," the National Bureau of Statistics said.
The latest figure is seen as a promising sign for China to meet its target of 7.5 percent growth for 2013, down from 7.8 percent in the previous year, which was the worst performance in 13 years.
Among other figures released by the national bureau, factory output in September alone rose 10.2 percent from a year earlier and fixed asset investment -- the major propeller of the country's growth-- expanded 20.2 percent in the first nine months of this year on the back of brisk infrastructure development.
Retail investment also expanded 19.7 percent in the first three quarters of the year.
However, despite the upbeat figures that were more or less in line with market expectations, not many economists expect the current infrastructure-driven growth to last a long time.
The new Chinese leadership is trying to rebalance the country's economy away from a strong reliance on investment and exports toward domestic consumption, factoring in that slower growth is necessary for its sustainable development.
As global economic prospects are increasingly uncertain, because of persisting fears over a possible debt default in the United States early next year, economists forecast that the Chinese economy will not grow further in the fourth quarter.
Reflecting weak external demand, China's exports for September unexpectedly fell 0.3 percent from a year earlier, marking the first shrinkage in three months.
Nomura Securities Co. said in a report that it believes the Chinese economy peaked out in August and the GDP rebound in the third quarter was not a healthy one.
The Japanese brokerage estimates that China's real GDP could decelerate to 7.5 percent in the fourth quarter and 6.9 percent in 2014.
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