Chinese Economy Grows By 8.9 Percent


BEIJING, China (CNN) -- China's economy continued its rebound in the third quarter with 8.9 percent growth in its gross domestic product, sparked in part by robust consumer spending.

For the first three quarters of 2009, China recorded 7.7 percent growth, the National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday. Chinese leaders have set their target growth rate at 8 percent for 2009.

"We have obtained obvious achievements and further strengthened the steady upturn trend of the economy," said Li Xiaochao, spokesman for the statistics bureau.

The strong third quarter performance came despite a plunge in foreign trade, which has been a key driver of the world's third-largest economy. The total value of exports and imports in the third quarter was down 16.5 percent. The overall decline has been 20.9 percent this year.

The government implemented a $600 billion stimulus plan to make up for trade losses, which spurred consumer spending, bank lending and car sales, and boosted the stock market. All those factors have been key to stabilizing growth, Li said.

But most experts agree that unless there is substantial improvement in the global economy in the near future, government spending alone will not sustain China's economic recovery into 2010.

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