China's economy grew at its slowest pace since the global financial crisis in the third quarter, reviving expectations of further stimulus to avert a stalling of the world's growth engine.
The world's second largest economy expanded by 6.9 percent in the July-September quarter, slowing from a 7 percent increase in the previous quarter. The numbers were still better than market expectations.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast gross domestic product (GDP) in the world's second-largest economy would grow 6.8 percent in July-September period from a year earlier.
"As growth slows and risk of deflation heightens, we reiterate that China needs to cut reserve requirement ratio (RRR) by another 50bps in Q4," ANZ economists Li-gang Liu and Louis Lam, said in a note. A basis point is 1/100th of a percentage point.
"Looming deflation risk suggests that the People's Bank of China will also adjust the benchmark interest rates, especially lending rate, down further."
Growth was up 1.8 percent quarter-on-quarter in Q3, China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Monday. This compared to a Reuters forecast of 1.7 percent, down from a revised 1.8 percent in the second quarter.
Bureau spokesman Sheng Laiyun told Reuters that China faced increased downward pressure on exports, and the government needed time to absorb excess capacity in traditional industries.
The survey-based unemployment rate in China was around 5.2 percent in September, Sheng added.
The government has set its annual economic growth target at "around 7 percent" for 2015, but at the weekend Chinese Premier Li Keqiang admitted that with the global economic recovery losing steam, hitting such a target was "not easy."