Despite the continued high rate of growth however officials said the data indicated the government was succeeding in keeping the economy under control

 

"We have turned the economy from being an overheating one to being one of speedy growth"

Li Xiaochao, National Bureau of Statistics

"Due to macro-economic controls, we have turned the economy from being an overheating one to being one of speedy growth," said Li Xiaochao, spokesman for the China's National Bureau of Statistics.

 

He said China's total economic output for the third quarter of '07 amounted to $2.2 trillion.

 

According to the government's figures, the continued growth was driven by a double-digit surge in exports as well as ongoing high levels of investment in factories and other fixed assets despite a series of interest rate hikes.

 

Crisis fears

 

China's communist leaders are eager to maintain a fast rate of growth to help lift millions out of poverty and underpin their legitimacy.

 

At the same time they must balance rapid expansion with fears that runaway growth or overspending on real estate and other assets could ignite a financial crisis.

 

So far Beijing has raised interest rates five times this year in an effort to keep a lip on investment, and another rise is expected before the end of the year.

 

The latest figures put China on course to overtake Germany as the world's third largest economy by December or early in 2008.

 

In other data released on Thursday, China's official inflation figure for September stood at 6.2 per cent above the same month last year.

 

That puts inflation slightly down on the 6.5 per cent recorded for August – an 11-year high - but still well ahead of the government's target of 3 per cent for the year as a whole.

 

Chinese officials have blamed the inflation surge on a shortage of food items, especially pork, the country's staple meat.

 

However, some observers say the way Chinese officials measure consumer prices is out dated, and the real inflation figure is closer to 20 per cent.