UBS shaved its full-year forecast to 7.2 percent from 7.3 percent.
Barclays Capital reduced its projection to 7.2 percent from 7.4. ING
cut its forecast to 7.4 from 7.5 percent.
Over the weekend, data showed factory output grew at its weakest
pace in nearly six years in August while weaker readings in
investment, retail sales and imports revealed a picture of an
economy struggling to gain momentum despite recent stimulus steps.
"Our downward revision is based on our belief of a shift in the
government's attitude and it is now less focused on achieving the
7.5 percent growth target," analysts at Barclays said in a note.
The slowdown in the data also indicated banks are getting cautious
about lending, especially with the backdrop of mounting pressure on
company balance sheets and an entrenched slowdown in the property
sector, a key engine for economic growth.
China's total social financing aggregate, a broad measure of lending
in the economy, was 957.4 billion yuan ($155.88 billion) in August
versus 273.1 billion yuan in July, which was the weakest in nearly
six years, data showed last week, indicating credit levels were far
Recent comments by top Chinese policymakers hinted the government
was bracing for a period of slow growth. Premier Li Keqiang said
last week China cannot rely on loose credit to lift its economy,
adding that it is difficult for the country to avoid short-term
fluctuations in growth.
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While the latest batch of data adds pressure on the central bank to
loosen monetary policy, economists believe Beijing would be
reluctant to roll out any massive headline measures such as cutting
interest rates and would prefer to resort to targeted small steps
"With the help of net exports, GDP growth in 2014 can stay slightly
above 7 percent," wrote economists at Gavekal Dragonomics, an
economic research firm. "Nevertheless, it will miss the government's
7.5 percent target."
(Reporting by Saikat Chatterjee and Kevin Yao; Editing by Richard
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