China fourth-quarter economic growth may fall below 6.5 percent: central bank magazine

A worker adjusts a cover on the back of a truck outside a warehouse of Yonghui Superstores in Chongqing, China October 9, 2018. Picture taken October 9, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s economic growth could fall below 6.5 percent in the fourth quarter as companies face increased difficulties, a central bank magazine said on Wednesday.

“The trend of economic slowdown still continues, and the slowing momentum is increasing. The fourth quarter GDP growth is very possible to be lower than 6.5 percent,” said China Finance magazine, which is published by the People’s Bank of China.

The government should step up tax cuts to help ease the burden on companies, especially small firms, the magazine said.

“The phenomenon of closures and layoffs is very common and employees’ income growth has been greatly restricted,” it said.

Chinese leaders have pledged to ratchet up support for the economy in 2019 by cutting taxes and keeping ample liquidity amid a trade dispute with the United States.

China’s economic growth slowed to 6.5 percent in the third quarter, the weakest pace since the global financial crisis. Indications are that momentum is likely to come off further in the fourth quarter and next year.

Chinese officials have said the economy would still hit the official growth target of around 6.5 percent in 2018.

Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Nick Macfie