China's economy grew 9.4% in the first three quarters of 2005 compared with the same time last year, China's National Bureau of Statistics said today. Growth for the third quarter alone was also 9.4%.

According to previously published figures, gross domestic product grew 9.5% in the second quarter and 9.4% in the three months to March. For the nine months from January to September the economy grew to total 10.627 trillion yuan ($1.3 trillion). 

The third quarter outcome was marginally above forecasts for 9.2-9.3% from analysts who had predicted a moderate slowing of the economy as macroeconomic controls finally put the brakes on the torrid growth of the last three years.

'The nation's economy has continued to develop towards the target of macro-regulation as a good momentum of steady and rapid growth is maintained,' NBS spokesman Zheng Jingping said. He acknowledged problems continued to exist, particularly in the agricultural sector and with continued 'irrational' fixed asset investment.

Fixed asset investment, which largely reflects government spending on infrastructure, grew 26.1% year-on-year in the nine months to September.

Zheng also highlighted the foreign trade inbalance and slowing profits in the industrial sector as problems that need to be addressed.

Today's data showed China's booming exports pushed the trade surplus up to $68.3 billion in the first nine months. Exports continue to remain robust, rising 31.3% to $546.4 billion while imports were up 16% to $478.1 billion, the bureau said in statement, citing customs statistics.

'The goals in economic and social development set in the beginning of the year will be achieved for the whole year so long as we continue to implement in real earnest, macro-regulation policy and measures in the fourth quarter,' Zheng said.

Earlier this month, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, one of China's key academic thinktanks, forecast full year growth of 9.4% before a slide in exports cools things down more significantly in 2006. The OECD has forecast growth of 9% this year for China.