China’s economic growth slowed to a new three-year low in the latest quarter as exports and consumer spending weakened.

The world’s second-largest economy grew by 7.6 per cent in the three months ending in June over a year earlier, down from the previous quarter’s 8.1 per cent, data showed today. That was the lowest since the first quarter of 2009 during the depths of the global financial crisis.

Export growth has fallen steadily amid anemic global demand and Chinese domestic consumer spending has weakened despite government stimulus measures that include two interest rate cuts since the start of June.

The government also has boosted investment by state-owned industry and is pumping money into the economy through higher spending on low-cost housing and other public works.

Analysts expect growth to rebound in the second half of the year but the slowdown raises the threat of job losses and tensions at a politically difficult time for the ruling Communist Party. It is trying to enforce calm ahead of a planned once-a-decade handover of power to younger leaders.

June retail sales growth was 12.1 per cent adjusted for price changes, down from the previous month’s 13.8 per cent growth, the National Bureau of Statistics reported. Growth in factory output edged down to 9.5 per cent from May’s 9.6 per cent.

In a reflection of government efforts to spur the economy with higher investment, growth in spending on factories, real estate and other fixed assets accelerated to 23.2 per cent in June, up from the previous month’s 20.1 per cent.