BEIJING, Oct. 18 -- China's economy expanded 7.4 percent year on year in the third quarter of 2012, slowing from 7.6 percent in the second quarter and 8.1 percent in the first, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced Thursday.
The figure has slowed for the seventh straight quarter, but was in line with economists' prediction that third-quarter economic output would grow by between 7.4-7.5 percent in the world's second-largest economy.
The GDP reached 35.35 trillion yuan (5.61 trillion U.S. dollars) in the first three quarters of 2012, NBS spokesman Sheng Laiyun told a press conference.
"The GDP grew 7.7 percent in the first three quarters, and the economy is generally running stable," Sheng said. The figure was 7.8 percent in the first half.
China's economic growth has started to stabilize and witnessed positive changes with the economy running well in the third quarter, Premier Wen Jiabao said during recent talks on economic conditions.
Major economic data released earlier showed that the nation's trade, manufacturing activity, and social financing all reported improvements in September.
Challenged by a sluggish external market and global economic woes, China lowered its full-year growth target for 2012 to 7.5 percent in early March, after its economy grew 9.2 percent year on year last year.